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    Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Reduces Need for Blood Pressure Medication

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    Lichtenstein also cautions that not all extra-virgin olive oils are the same, and that more complete characterization of exactly what is in each brand of oil also needs to be done before its health benefits can be assured.

    Patricia Darragh, a spokeswoman for the California Olive Oil Council, says council members have heard anecdotal reports of a beneficial effect of olive oil on blood pressure. "I believe there are studies underway, but we're not including this in our educational materials yet," she tells WebMD. "We do support the findings of an American Heart Association study comparing rates of cardiovascular disease and types of fats consumed around the world suggesting that consumption of olive oil has clear health benefits. Olive oil still has calories, of course, so substitution for other types of fats is necessary."

    Vital Information:

    • Patients with high blood pressure who substitute extra-virgin olive oil in their diets for other types of fat can reduce the amount of medication they need by half, according to a new study.
    • Researchers suspect that substances in extra-virgin olive oil known as antioxidant polyphenols are responsible for the reduction of blood pressure in these patients.
    • One expert cautions that these results need to be followed up with more research before advising patients to consume 40 grams per day of extra-virgin olive oil.
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