"This study demonstrates one possible mechanism by which olive oil rich in phenolic substances improves the functioning of the circulation. The authors found that after test subjects took olive oil spiked with phenolic compounds, their blood vessels could dilate better, which could improve blood flow. These findings are particularly interesting because similar studies after high fat meals, like a burger and fries, showed impairment of normal blood vessel functions," Dr. Wilson said.
Dr. Wilson pointed out that not all olive oils have a high phenolic content.
"So these results might not be true for all olive oil on the shelf at the grocery store," he said.
Juan J. Badimon, Ph.D., F.A.C.C., from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, New York, who also was not connected with this study, said it was well-designed and will help address controversy about whether olive oil benefits or impairs blood vessel health.
"One of the beauties of this study is that using a randomized, sequential, crossover study, so that the same patients were exposed to the same oil, once with low phenolic content and the other with high phenolic content, the only variable in this study is the phenolic content of the olive oil," Dr. Badimon noted. "These results indicate that a very small change in diet, like using olive oil with a high phenolic content may have a significant impact in the progression of atherosclerosis."