A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found consuming olive leaf extract (OLE) may have a positive effect on measures associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) [June 8, 2015]. The leaves of the olive plant (Olea europaea) are rich in polyphenols, of which oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol (HT) are most characteristic. Such polyphenols have been shown to have a positive impact on cardiovascular risk factors.
The researchers conducted a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, acute intervention trial with 18 healthy volunteers, who consumed either OLE (51 mg oleuropein; 10 mg HT), or a matched control (separated by a four-week wash out) on a single occasion.
The researchers found a single recommended dose of OLE improved blood vessel function and lowered the inflammatory market in the blood compared to participants in the placebo group. These results provide the first evidence that OLE positively modulates vascular function and IL-8 production in vivo, adding to growing evidence that olive phenolics could be beneficial for health.
Olive leaf extract may be a beneficial inclusion in heart-healthy bars and other foods aimed at cardiovascular health. But on the larger scale, olives in their many forms, provide wellness benefits--from olive oil for salad dressings to olive oil in Mediterranean foods and dips such as hummus.