On the basis of the information discussed in this review, we can conclude that the effects of a high intake of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) from olive oil include a wide range of healthy benefits beyond improvement in cholesterol levels, suggesting that this type of diet has great potential in preventing cardiovascular disease. MUFA-enriched diets reduce insulin requirements and decrease plasma concentrations of glucose and insulin in type 2 diabetic patients, unlike high-saturated fatty acid and low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets. Moreover, some data show that this dietary model could have a hypotensive effect. There is also substantial evidence that oleic-enriched low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is more resistant to oxidative modifications and that dietary MUFA may influence various components and functions related to the endothelium. These include endothelium-dependent vasodilatation and a reduced capacity of oleic-enriched LDL to promote the adhesion and chemotaxis of monocytes. On the other hand, a MUFA diet decreases the prothrombotic environment, modifying platelet adhesion, coagulation, and fibrinolysis. Its reducing effect on PAI-1 plasma levels is of particular relevance. This wide range of anti-atherogenic effects could explain the low rate of cardiovascular mortality found in Mediterranean countries, where there is a moderate to high supply of dietary MUFA. Future studies need to focus on uncovering the mechanisms by which the Mediterranean diet exerts its beneficial effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics