Life Extension Magazine®

Olive oil jars being used for the Mediterranean diet

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Consuming extra virgin olive oil every day may protect against Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, skin aging, and cancer, due to its high polyphenol content. To increase daily use, four recipes for delicious, olive-oil-based salad dressings are presented.

Scientifically reviewed by Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N, in August 2023. Written by: Laurie Mathena.

The Mediterranean diet is hailed for its ability to lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and overall mortality.1-3 Many of these benefits can be credited largely to one key component of the diet: extra virgin olive oil.4

Research shows that people who consume the most olive oil have a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular events, strokes, or from any cause at all.5 Consuming olive oil every day may also protect against conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis, to skin aging, and cancer.6-9

What’s more, all of these benefits are greater when extra virgin olive oil is substituted for regular olive oil.10

Extra virgin olive oil is less refined, which allows it to retain more polyphenols. These beneficial plant compounds are primarily responsible for extra virgin olive oil’s myriad health benefits, including reducing all-cause mortality.5

Unfortunately, just because a product is labeled as “extra virgin” does not mean it has a high polyphenol content. Factors such as soil, climate, moisture, ripeness of the fruit, and processing, greatly impact the polyphenols.

Worse, many producers dilute the extra virgin olive oil with lower-quality oils. Shockingly, about 75%-80% of the extra virgin olive oil brands sold in the U.S. don’t even meet the legal requirements to be called extra virgin!11

A Trusted Source

There is one source of extra virgin olive oil that has been proven to be packed with polyphenols, while being completely pure and unadulterated.

On a family farm in California, non-GMO olives are harvested early in the season, handpicked, and crushed immediately. The oil is then cold-extracted, stored in stainless steel tanks, and then poured directly into dark bottles (protected from the light).

The result is a product that contains over 800 mg/kg of polyphenols, which is three times the average olive oil polyphenol content.

Maximize Olive Oil’s Benefits

When extra virgin olive oil has a high polyphenol content, it’s not just better for you—it tastes better too. Polyphenols are what give extra virgin olive oil its unique, fruity and spicy-peppery taste.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate it into your diet every day is simply through salad dressings.

On the following pages, Life Extension® has compiled a handful of flavorful salad dressing recipes. These provide a variety of flavors, but when using this California-based extra virgin olive oil, they all have one important thing in common: a guaranteed high polyphenol content responsible for the proven health benefits of extra virgin olive oil.

Bon Appetit!

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

woman pouring dressing on salad

Makes 1 cup

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 3 cup water

Instructions: Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Add additional water until the dressing reaches desired consistency.

Sundried Tomato Dressing

Sundried Tomato Dressing

Makes 1 cup

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and process on high until smooth.

Greek Vinaigrette Dressing

Greek Vinaigrette Dressing

Makes 1 cup

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions: Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine, or place in an air-tight container and shake to combine.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Balsalmic Vinaigrette Dressing

Makes 1 cup

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp parsley
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Instructions: Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine, or place in an air-tight container and shake to combine.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


  1. Kok FJ, Kromhout D. Atherosclerosis--epidemiological studies on the health effects of a Mediterranean diet. Eur J Nutr. 2004 Mar;43 Suppl 1:I/2-5.
  2. Samieri C, Feart C, Proust-Lima C, et al. Olive oil consumption, plasma oleic acid, and stroke incidence: the Three-City Study. Neurology. 2011 Aug 2;77(5):418-25.
  3. Domenech M, Roman P, Lapetra J, et al. Mediterranean diet reduces 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipids: one-year randomized, clinical trial. Hypertension. 2014 Jul;64(1):69-76.
  4. Virruso C, Accardi G, Colonna-Romano G, et al. Nutraceutical properties of extra-virgin olive oil: a natural remedy for age-related disease? Rejuvenation Res. 2014 Apr;17(2):217-20.
  5. Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Oct 1;13:154.
  6. Abuznait AH, Qosa H, Busnena BA, et al. Olive-oil-derived oleocanthal enhances beta-amyloid clearance as a potential neuroprotective mechanism against Alzheimer’s disease: in vitro and in vivo studies. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2013 Jun 19;4(6):973-82.
  7. Puel C, Quintin A, Agalias A, et al. Olive oil and its main phenolic micronutrient (oleuropein) prevent inflammation-induced bone loss in the ovariectomised rat. Br J Nutr. 2004 Jul;92(1):119-27.
  8. Latreille J, Kesse-Guyot E, Malvy D, et al. Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids intake and risk of skin photoaging. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44490.
  9. Psaltopoulou T, Kosti RI, Haidopoulos D, et al. Olive oil intake is inversely related to cancer prevalence: a systematic review and a meta-analysis of 13,800 patients and 23,340 controls in 19 observational studies. Lipids Health Dis. 2011 Jul 30;10:127.
  10. Estruch R, Salas-Salvado J. “Towards an even healthier Mediterranean diet”. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Dec;23(12):1163-6.
  11. Available at: Accessed April 23, 2019.