Olive Oil Health & Science

Olive oil can play a leading role in a healthy lifestyle. The Food and Drug Administration agrees, and approved olive oil for a qualified health claim in 2004, recognizing the heart-health benefits of one of America's most popular pourable cooking oils. The petition for a health claim submitted by the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) included more than 70 clinical intervention studies conducted by scientists in the United States and other countries.

Specifically, the FDA claim states, "Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.”

The International Olive Council released a white paper in 2012, titled "Health Benefits of Olives and Olive Oil" that identified a host of other health benefits olive oil provides. Olive oil is a rich source of numerous compounds, including polyphenols, with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. When merchandising olive oil to consumers, there are many health benefits to tout.

For information on new studies or news related to olive oil health and science, check the Resources & Links page.

1. Samieri C et al. Olive oil consumption, plasma oleic acid, and stroke incidence: the Three-City Study. Neurology 2011;77:418-25. 2. Owen RW et al. Olives and olive oil in cancer prevention. Eur J Cancer Prev 2004;13:319-326. 3. La Vecchia C. Mediterranean diet and cancer. Public Health Nutr 2004;7:965-8. 4. Wahle KW et al. Olive oil and modulation of cell signaling in disease prevention. Lipids. 2004;39(12):1223-31. 5. USDA nutrient database. Source: International Olive Council, “Health Benefits of Olives and Olive Oil”