A new report has scientifically proven the benefits of raw olive oil for improving heart health compared with other oils such rapeseed and sunflower.
The report builds on an initial study by Glasgow University, funded in the final stages by Filippo Berio, which found it does not matter whether it is extra virgin or “regular” olive oil, as long as people consume 20ml in its raw form each day - all olive oils produce a beneficial effect in coronary artery disease (CAD).
The distinctive methodology used in the study measured tiny levels of protein in urine which are indicators (biomarkers) of heart health – long before any symptoms are detected.
By measuring these biomarkers there is now data to show that only extra virgin and “normal” olive oil have a positive impact on heart health. The latest study shows no other edible oils achieve this.
Dr Bill Mullen, University of Glasgow, carried out both the olive oil study and the follow-up study to test sunflower and rapeseed oils. He explained: “The initial olive oil study was carried out in Glasgow because the Glasgow population had such a low intake of olive oil that it was like painting on a blank canvas. Glasgow was also the heart attack capital of the UK, if not Europe.
“We tried to recreate the olive oil study using the two other oils. We recruited volunteers within Glasgow once again as we assumed that this would match as close as possible to the olive oil study. It was a surprise to us to find that neither oil provided any beneficial effect for heart health.”
Filippo Berio UK managing director, Walter Zanré, commented: “Olive oil has long been viewed as a healthy oil because of its association with the Mediterranean diet. However, this theory has previously only been based on correlation - for example, those who live in the Mediterranean have a lower incidence of heart disease (CAD) than in the UK. But this research by the University of Glasgow not only proves correlation between olive oil, in any form, and improving heart health - it also shows it's the only oil that delivers these benefits.”
Nutritionist Linda Vezzoli has worked with Filippo Berio to create a series of hints and tips for incorporating 20ml of raw olive oil into breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - and even desserts - each day, to boost heart health:
- Is your porridge not keeping you as satisfied as you'd like until lunchtime? Swirl in some raw olive oil, chopped nuts and fruit before serving to make the porridge creamy and filling! Two teaspoons of olive oil contains 10ml
- Try adding 20ml of light olive oil into your morning smoothie. You can substitute the light olive oil with 20mls of extra virgin olive oil for the added polyphenols. If doing so, add some cacao powder to your smoothie to boost the flavour
- Drizzle some raw extra virgin olive oil on top of your avocado on toast to take it to the next level!
- Raw olive oil is delicious drizzled on top of poached or scrambled eggs as well as on top of frittatas and omelettes. Two teaspoons contain 10ml of olive oil
- If you're avoiding dairy, extra virgin olive oil can be a great tasty replacement on your toast instead of butter
- Add some light olive oil to your Greek yoghurt with honey and cinnamon
- Love baked beans? Make yourself a batch of smoky baked beans and finish off with a drizzle of raw olive oil before serving
- Make some non-bake energy bars with light olive oil
- Blend some light olive oil into your coffee to make a 'bulletproof coffee' instead of butter or MCT oil
- Substitute extra virgin olive oil for mayonnaise or butter in your sandwiches. The peppery olive oil taste will add a touch of sophistication to your humble sarnie
- Use light olive oil to make your homemade mayonnaise
- Make your own salad dressings with extra virgin olive oil. Some ideas include the classic vinaigrette, citrus vinaigrette, garlic yoghurt dressing or a soy sauce dressing
- Make easy homemade pesto to quickly dress pasta dishes, stir into soups, or as a topping for crackers. It's also great in sandwiches to deepen the flavours, or even stirred into cooked vegetables or salads! Delicious recipes include classic pesto, sun dried tomato pesto and for something a little different - Sicilian pesto
- Add a circle of raw olive oil to your soup before serving. A circle of olive oil contains approximately 8 mls of olive oil
- Drizzle some olive oil on top of your rice or couscous dishes
- Incorporate olive oil in your legume salad dishes, such as tonno e fagioli recipe
- Use olive oil to make a tuna or chicken sandwich filling instead of mayonnaise
- Drizzle some olive oil on top of pizza before serving
- Try finishing off your steak with a drizzle of raw olive oil, salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Delizioso!
- Add moisture and flavour to meats which can sometimes be a little dry (such as turkey or chicken breast) by drizzling some raw extra virgin olive oil on top before serving
- Drizzle onto steamed or roasted vegetables and season with salt to taste
- Drizzle raw olive oil on boiled or roasted potatoes, or toss with raw olive oil, minced garlic, parsley and sea salt for a quick and delicious side dish
- Substitute olive oil for butter in cooked spinach, with a dash of fresh lemon juice and salt
- Swirl into creamy risottos before serving. 2 teaspoons contain 10ml of oil
- Replace butter with raw extra virgin olive oil on your baked potato for a light and healthy family favourite meal
- Try adding a delicious olive tapenade to your fish dishes
- Add a circle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on your baked or dry fried fish
- Add a refreshing orange and fennel salad, with olive oil, to your fish dishes
- A quick pinzimonio (raw olive oil and veggie dip) is easy and delicious to prepare. Pinzimonio can also be used as a delicious dipping sauce for warm, crusty bread
- Make a classic bruschetta with raw olive oil for a light and filling snack
- Drizzle some olive oil and salt on top of air-popped popcorn for a light and delicious snack!
- Include raw virgin olive oil in a home-made hummus dip, to consume with raw vegetables or with pitta bread
- Stir in some olive oil in ricotta cheese and season with salt and pepper for a quick and delicious bread topping
- Make a delicious dip such as whipped feta and honey dip with toasted pitta bread
- Use raw extra virgin olive oil in a raw grated carrot salad. The carrots contain indigestible fibres which act like bristles through the intestinal tract. This salad is great to consume daily as a snack if you are experiencing digestive issues such as bloating or constipation
- Drizzle some raw extra virgin olive oil on top of vanilla ice cream. The peppery olive oil taste brings out the sweetness of the vanilla - they are a match made in heaven, trust me! This works well with strawberry ice cream too
- Loosen mascarpone cheese with some light olive oil to use in dessert recipes
- Make a delicious chocolate mousse with light olive oil for a decadent yet heart healthy dessert
- Use olive oil to season a fruit salad and bring out the taste of the fruit