The best oil: Extra virgin olive oil contributes to better breast milk quality
01/18/2023 // Olivia Cook // Views

Extra virgin olive oil  (EVOO) is the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. It is often drizzled on salads, soups and pastas. Often, EVOO is combined with balsamic vinegar and served with bread – with diners dipping bread pieces into the mix.

Consuming EVOO also contributes to a better quality of breast milk, according to a study. Researchers fed pregnant female rats with olive oil for six weeks. They then took blood samples from the mother rats and their pups, and analyzed them.

They found several beneficial plant compounds in the blood of both mother rats and pups – including omega-3, omega-6 and antioxidants. Two antioxidants in olive oil, hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol, destroy free radicals that damage DNA. The two fatty acids, meanwhile, cross the placental barrier and contribute to the baby's growth in the womb.

Lead researcher Dr. Maria Rodrigues-Lagunas of the University of Barcelona said: "Our results support that diets enriched with EVOO could modify or even increase the chemical content of breast milk – with potential health benefits for the infant."

She continued that their research endeavor is the first "to report transmission of extra virgin olive oil plant compounds from mother to offspring during breastfeeding." Rodrigues-Lagunas continued that "promising levels of olive oil compounds and their metabolites were detected in offspring plasma."

"To date, several studies had described the composition of breast milk can be affected by biological and environmental factors to which the mother is exposed, such as the mother's diet. Therefore, the nutritional interventions during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period can have an impact on the quality of breast milk – and consequently, on the infant's health."


Olive oil benefits the body overall

EVOO pertains to olive oil mechanically extracted from raw olives (Olea europaea). It stands out from other kinds of olive oil as it does not undergo heating or any other chemical process. This ensures that the plant compounds in the olives remain.

A 2018 study in Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders - Drug Targets demonstrated the role of EVOO as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and vasodilatory superfood that contributes to lowering the risk of cardiovascular events. The researchers attributed EVOO's positive effect on the cardiovascular system to its active components.

According to the authors of the 2018 study, monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid make up 98 to 99 percent of total EVOO weight. The remaining one to two percent is made up of tocopherols, polyphenols and other constituents.

EVOO also supports weight management efforts, thanks to the beneficial compounds it contains. A randomized clinical trial whose results were published August 2017 in the European Journal of Nutrition elaborated on this.

The researchers from the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil's Minas Gerais state enlisted 41 adult women with excess body fat. They were given breakfast meals on a daily basis.

Twenty participants were given soybean oil alongside their meals, while the 21 others were given EVOO. Blood samples were collected from all participants during the first and last days of the trial, which the researchers subsequently examined.

They found that fat loss was 80 percent higher in the EVOO group compared to the control group. The participants given EVOO also reported a lower diastolic blood pressure compared to those given soybean oil.

"Our results indicate that EVOO should be included into energy-restricted programs for obesity treatment," the Brazilian researchers concluded.

Watch this video to find out more about the benefits of olive oil.

This video is from the Holistic Herbalist channel on

More related stories:

What is the best way to make sure your olive oil is high-quality?

Use extra virgin olive oil regularly to lower your breast cancer risk, study finds.

Academics and nutritionists confirm olive oil is essential for good health.

Extra virgin olive oil found to prevent Alzheimer’s and protect the brain’s memory.

Extra virgin olive oil found to reverse many of the effects of a high-fat diet.

Sources include:

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