Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Extra-virgin olive oil may lower afib risk

July 16, 2014








Image: Thinkstock

A Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil may lower the risk of the heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation. The findings come from PREDIMED, a large Spanish study of 7,500 people at risk of heart disease. The study compared three diets: a reduced-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, and a Mediterranean diet supplemented with minimally processed (extra-virgin) olive oil. Last year, researchers reported that both forms of the Mediterranean diet helped prevent heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from heart disease.

The latest findings, published in the journal Circulation, focused on 6,705 of the participants who showed no evidence of atrial fibrillation when the study began. After a follow-up of nearly five years, there were 72 new cases of atrial fibrillation among the participants eating a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil, 82 in those eating a Mediterranean diet with nuts, and 92 of those on the reduced-fat diet. That translates to a 40% lower risk of atrial fibrillation in the extra-virgin olive oil group compared with the reduced-fat group.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.