You’ve likely heard that the Mediterranean diet is good for your heart and your brain. Now new research indicates that the olive oil in the diet should get part of the credit.

The reason? Olive oil helps to lower blood pressure – a key factor for heart disease!

Golden Olive Oil Reduces Blood Pressure

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that 25 ml (4 teaspoons) of olive oil daily reduced blood pressure in men who were previously not eating a Mediterranean diet. In fact, among the 110 men in the study, blood pressure dropped an average of 3 percent over the nine-week study period.

Researchers believe a compound called oleic acid – a monounsaturated fat that makes up 55-85 percent of olive oil – is responsible for the benefit.

Choose the Right Olive Oil to Get The Most Benefits

So go ahead and splurge on some good, organic extra virgin olive oil. But make sure you are buying from a reputable source – many oils marketed as olive oil are fake.

You’ll get the most health benefits when you use real extra virgin olive oil cold – drizzled over salads, roasted veggies, and the like – instead of cooking with it.