Monounsaturated fat and cardiovascular risk

Jose López-Miranda, Lina Badimon, Andrea Bonanome, Denis Lairon, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Pedro Mata, Francisco Pérez-Jiménez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


On the basis of the information discussed in this review, we can conclude that the effects of a high intake of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) from olive oil include a wide range of healthy benefits beyond improvement in cholesterol levels, suggesting that this type of diet has great potential in preventing cardiovascular disease. MUFA-enriched diets reduce insulin requirements and decrease plasma concentrations of glucose and insulin in type 2 diabetic patients, unlike high-saturated fatty acid and low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets. Moreover, some data show that this dietary model could have a hypotensive effect. There is also substantial evidence that oleic-enriched low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is more resistant to oxidative modifications and that dietary MUFA may influence various components and functions related to the endothelium. These include endothelium-dependent vasodilatation and a reduced capacity of oleic-enriched LDL to promote the adhesion and chemotaxis of monocytes. On the other hand, a MUFA diet decreases the prothrombotic environment, modifying platelet adhesion, coagulation, and fibrinolysis. Its reducing effect on PAI-1 plasma levels is of particular relevance. This wide range of anti-atherogenic effects could explain the low rate of cardiovascular mortality found in Mediterranean countries, where there is a moderate to high supply of dietary MUFA. Future studies need to focus on uncovering the mechanisms by which the Mediterranean diet exerts its beneficial effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S2-S12
JournalNutrition reviews
Issue number10 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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