She went on to research whether a plant-based olive oil diet would improve risk factors for chronic disease, including breast and prostate cancers, relative to a lower fat diet. In one major study of 44 women with breast cancer, participants were assigned either a conventional diet where less than 30 percent of calories came from fat or a plant-based olive oil diet. The women followed the diets for eight weeks of weight loss and then could choose which they wanted to continue on for six months of follow-up. Somewhat surprisingly to Flynn, a strong majority of the women chose her diet, saying that the meals tasted better, were easy to prepare, inexpensive, and could be used both for everyday eating and when entertaining. Moreover, those who have tried to adopt the plant-based olive diet in both research and outpatient settings have mentioned feeling better after just one day following it, which is a powerful motivator for lasting behavior change.
Healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, plus plenty of anti-inflammatory veggies and fruits, are known to fight age-related cognitive decline. These help counter the harmful effects of exposure to toxicity, free radicals, inflammation-causing poor diets or food allergies, which can all contribute to impaired brain function. This is one reason why adherence to the Mediterranean diet is linked with lower rates of Alzheimer’s. (10)
It’s low in saturated fat. You’re not going to feel hungry eating this way, because you can build in a variety of healthy fats. But by limiting large amounts of red or processed meats and relying heavily on monounsaturated fatty acids, like avocado, nuts, or olive oil, you’ll keep saturated fat levels low. These fats don't lead to high cholesterol the same way saturated fats do. Healthful sources of fat include olive oil, fish oils, and nut-based oils, Cohen explains.
Consuming three tablespoons of EVOO isn’t enough to start shedding the kilos, Flynn says, explaining that the weight-loss effect kicks in when it’s combined with a healthy Mediterranean-style diet. This is rich in vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains, moderate in dairy and low in meat (about three serves of white meat or fish a week for women, and red meat only once or twice a month).