Research from the US Environment Protection Agency has shown that olive oil protects blood vessels from the damaging effects of air pollution.

Air pollution particles released from motor vehicle emissions and industry have the ability to harm the cells lining your arteries (endothelial cells). This can eventually result in endothelial dysfunction, a condition that can cause high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. New research published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has shown that adding olive oil to your diet for just three weeks can start to attenuate these harmful effects.

Olive oil contains a number of beneficial compounds. Oleic acid is the main fat in olive oil and is a monounsaturated fat. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been shown to improve endothelial function and blood fats. Olive oil can help to lower blood pressure by improving the ability of arteries to dilate.

Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is also very high in a range of beneficial substances, including phenolic antioxidant compounds, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are only found in the unrefined, thick green colored variety; not light olive oil.

Exercising in heavy traffic or heavily polluted areas is not ideal, so if possible, try to exercise in a park, a gym or your own home. Olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you could possibly eat. Try to include some in your diet each day.