Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is Olive Oil Bad For You?



Short answer

Olive oil is quite beneficial to your health. People who already have low blood pressure may want to avoid it (olive oil may lower blood pressure) - but other than this possible drawback, olive oil is good to have around.



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Long answer

For the purpose of this article, we will be talking solely about extra virgin olive oil, not other versions which may be mixed with other cheaper oils, such as canola oil. When mixed, the benefits that come from extra virgin olive oil may be mitigated or negated altogether. 

It may come as a surprise that something which is 75% fat can be not just good, but great for your health. However, not all fats are the same. The fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fat in the form of oleic acid. Among the many benefits of oleic acid is that it can lower blood pressure by being absorbed by cell membranes and from there changing the membranes' signaling patterns.  Another benefit of olive oil is that studies indicate it may be an effective way to prevent various forms of cancer. Phytonutrients in oleocanthal have been shown to reduce inflammation and thereby decrease the risk of developing breast cancer or having it recur. Furthermore, olive oil contains several antioxidants such as vitamin E and polyphenols which prevent oxygen molecules from wreaking havoc inside the body and thereby increasing the risk for cancer. 

Other benefits of olive oil include preventing and relieving rheumatoid arthritis, helping in weight loss, strengthening bones through improved mineralization and calcification, and helping to prevent type 2 diabetes. One further benefit that is important to not leave off the list is that olive oil (extra virgin olive oil, remember) helps to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while at the same time maintaining (or perhaps even raising) HDL cholesterol levels. 

The above benefits scratch the surface with research continuing to turn up more evidence as to why olive oil is good for your health. It should be kept in mind, though, that olive oil does contain nearly 120 calories per tablespoon. However, unless you are drenching your food in oil or drinking it straight from the bottle (highly doubtful) this should not be a cause for concern. Also, due to its blood pressure lowering quality, people who have low blood pressure may want to avoid olive oil or consult a doctor about it beforehand.

Possible short-term side effects

  • lower blood pressure (important for those with already low levels)

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain

Ingredients to be aware of

  • roughly 120 calories per tablespoon


  • helps to lower blood pressure
  • helps fight against oxidative stress
  • helps prevent various forms of cancer
  • helps maintain strong bones
  • helps prevent type 2 diabetes
  • promotes weight loss
  • helps decrease ldl cholesterol and triglycerides

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Bragg Organic EVOO

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Cold-pressed quality
  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Non-GMO project verified
  • Kosher
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 03-16-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 03-16-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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