With cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in the world, every natural way of lowering cholesterol and lipids (fatty compounds) is welcome. It is well known that the daily consumption of high phenolic olive oil plays a major role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and the reduction of its symptoms. And since olive oil has this beneficial effect, why shouldn’t the olive have it as well? A Greek study is being conducted – we are waiting for the final results to be announced soon – that shows how a certain type of organic olive exhibits significant cardioprotective properties.
5 Olives a day for lower cholesterol
At a conference held at the Oleocanthal International Society two year ago at the ancient city of Olympia, Dr. Martha Spirodopoulou-Katsarou, postdoctoral researcher at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, presented the first phase of the study on the health benefits of the olive fruit on the lipid profile. Mrs. Spirodopoulou-Katsarou explained how the consumption of olives could affect cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The first phase of the study regarding the olive’s effect on lipid levels lasted 60 days, the participants were 20 healthy males and females between the ages of 22-65 years old who did not take any medication during this phase. The olives that were chosen for this study were the kalamon variety that were harvested by the Sakellaropoulos family, as they were found to have 5 times higher concentrations of hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol than any other commercially available varieties. According to analysis done by the Pharmaceutical School of Athens the organic olives that participated in this study were found to have 1300 mg per kilo of hydroxytyrosol and 560 mg per kilo of tyrosol. At the end of the study, a significant difference was found in the participants’ lipid levels (fatty compound levels). The study found that: “A significant increase in HDL and the ratio of total LDL cholesterol, and significant reductions in total cholesterol HDL and LDL/HDL in 95% statistical correlation were observed.”
In conclusion, according to the study the daily consumption of these Kalamata type olives can positively influence the lipid profile and may contribute to reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
The average general content of hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol in olives produced in Greece and that have been analyzed by the University of Athens, are 244mg per kg of hydroxytyrosol and 134 mg per kg of tyrosol. The secret to the health benefits of olive oil and olives is the same; it all depends on the type and amount of phenolic compounds they contain, which in turn are contingent on the variety and method of production.
Ongoing research for table olives
At the Aristoleo Awards 2017 international competition which focuses on the high beneficial compounds that table olives contain for human health, the continuation of the study was announced regarding the effects of organic kalamon olives on the lipids. In this phase of the study people with a high lipid profile participated that were and were not taking medication. The study is taking place at hospitals that are participating in the program and is being overseen by professors and doctors with different areas of expertise and the Pharmaceutical School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
We are awaiting the final results. Meanwhile, if you love olives, try putting them in your daily diet on a regular basis.