Hippocrates, the ancient Greek father of medicine, called olive oil “the great therapeutic,” and identified more than 60 medicinal uses for it.
After two and a half millennia, modern science is beginning to catch up. Many clinical studies have demonstrated the preventive health benefits of olive oil, including the large-scale PREDIMED nutritional study in Spain. Started in 2003, this ongoing trial has involved more than 7,000 people to date in its evaluation of the role of the Mediterranean diet, supplemented with olive oil or nuts, in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. PREDIMED sub-studies also have focused on the prevention of diabetes, dementia, and breast cancer.
A delicious component of a nutritious diet, olive oil may be considered preventive health care, with topical therapeutic uses, too.