Extra-virgin olive oil is a healthy cooking oil and may be an effective ingredient for protecting the liver from oxidative stress. Researchers slowly depleted antioxidants in rats, and determined they were somewhat protected from additional stress while consuming a diet that included olive oil. The report can be found in Nutrition and Metabolism.
For this study, a research team analyzed 80 rats. One primary ingredient in a Mediterranean diet is olive oil, and this may be one reason heart disease and cancer is less prevalent there. With this study, researchers were able to determine the protective properties of olive oil.
Rats were divided into different groups for analysis. A control group, groups exposed to an herbicide, and a group fed a diet containing olive oil.
Significant liver damage was present in all rats exposed to the herbicide. However, rats exposed to herbicide but fed a diet containing olive oil noticed less liver damage and higher antioxidant counts.
Properties of olive oil appear to provide a largely beneficial health effect in rats. While no official studies have been conducted, cultures consuming more olive oil appear to have less instances of heart and cardiovascular disease than other nations.
Researchers explain the study to be helpful, but insist additional research needs to be conducted to draw true conclusions about these preliminary findings.