Health

Frequent Olive Oil Consumption May Reduce Risk of Blood Clots

In a recent study, the participants who consumed the most olive oil had the least platelet accumulation, which could lead to heart disease and stroke.

Red blood cells
Mar. 18, 2019
By Mary West
Red blood cells

Recent News

New research found eating olive oil at least once a week was asso­ci­ated with lower platelet activ­ity in obese adults.

Since platelets are involved in blood clot for­ma­tion, this effect could reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Olive oil is a vital part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to car­dio­vas­cu­lar ben­e­fits.

Our study sug­gests that choos­ing to eat olive oil may have the poten­tial to help modify that risk, poten­tially low­er­ing an obese per­son’s threat of having a heart attack or stroke.- Sean P. Heffron, assis­tant pro­fes­sor at NYU School of Medicine

Platelets are frag­ments of blood cells that bind together when acti­vated. When a blood vessel suf­fers harm, platelets rush to the dam­aged site to form a plug; how­ever, this ben­e­fi­cial process can become a threat to health.

Platelets also con­tribute to the for­ma­tion of artery-clog­ging plaque, called ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis, which under­lies the major­ity of heart attacks and strokes, Sean P. Heffron, the lead author of the study and an assis­tant pro­fes­sor at New York University’s School of Medicine, explained.

See more: Olive Oil Health News

The par­tic­i­pants in the study were 63 obese non­smok­ing adults with an aver­age age of 32 and an aver­age body mass index (BMI) of 41. Anyone with a BMI of more than 30 is con­sid­ered obese.

Advertisement

Heffron and his col­leagues used food fre­quency ques­tion­naires to deter­mine how often the indi­vid­u­als con­sumed olive oil.

Analysis showed that par­tic­i­pants who ate olive oil at least once a week had less platelet acti­va­tion than those who ate it less fre­quently. In addi­tion, those who con­sumed olive oil most often had the least level of platelet accu­mu­la­tion.

The research team believes that aside from the plen­ti­ful amount of antiox­i­dants in olive oil, the anti-platelet action has some­thing to do with the struc­ture of its mol­e­cules.

Advertisement

“People who are obese are at increased risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other car­dio­vas­cu­lar event, even if they don’t have dia­betes or other obe­sity-asso­ci­ated con­di­tions,” Heffron said. “Our study sug­gests that choos­ing to eat olive oil may have the poten­tial to help modify that risk, poten­tially low­er­ing an obese per­son’s threat of having a heart attack or stroke.”

“To our knowl­edge, this is the first study to assess the effects of dietary com­po­si­tion, olive oil specif­i­cally, on platelet func­tion in obese patients,” coau­thor Ruina Zhang, a NYU med­ical stu­dent, added.

Advertisement

The study had sev­eral lim­i­ta­tions. It relied on self-report­ing of olive oil con­sump­tion, and it didn’t include infor­ma­tion on the quan­tity con­sumed.

Moreover, because the inves­ti­ga­tion was obser­va­tional, it showed a link rather than a cause-effect rela­tion­ship. Results were recently pre­sented at a meet­ing of the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2019.

In addi­tion to platelet acti­va­tion, other fac­tors influ­ence car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, one of which is inflam­ma­tion. Physician Nikola Djordjevic, founder and project man­ager of MedAlertHelp.org, told Olive Oil Times how a com­po­nent of olive oil helps reme­di­ate this con­di­tion.

“One of the best prop­er­ties of oleic acid, a monoun­sat­u­rated fat that makes up three-fourths of olive oil, is that it reduces inflam­ma­tion,” she said. “This, in turn, is ben­e­fi­cial for the health of your arter­ies, as long-term inflam­ma­tion can cause damage that leads to ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis. Thus, olive oil can play a major role in pre­vent­ing heart dis­ease and stroke.”