What are the health benefits of olive oil?
Don't be misled by scientific studies that have not compared the consumption of olive oil to a whole food plant based diet without any oil or butter. Instead, look at comparisons of olive oil with whole food sources of fats:
The beneficial effects of olive oil reported in scientific studies are only better in comparison to even more unhealthy sources of oils or fats. When compared to eating the whole food that the oil came from, any extracted oil is harmful since it misses the fibre that helps the gut to regulate lipid absorption as well as lipid excretion (getting rid of your body's unhealthy fats). One table spoon of olive oil contains the equivalent oil content of 40 regular black olives, without any of their fibre and water-soluble vitamins and minerals.
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet (compared to even more unhealthy diets) come mostly from the relatively larger amount of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs and lower amount of meat and dairy. What's the Mediterranean Diet's Secret? | NutritionFacts.org
Studies found that people have a (slightly) lower risk for heart disease on a Mediterranean, compared to a diet lower in vegetables and higher in meat and dairy. But please note that the Mediterranean has never been found to reverse heart disease, but merely cause heart disease at a slower rate than a worse diet. On the contrary, doctor Dean Ornish has published very rigorous studies that have proven, beyond doubt, the reversal of heart disease on a Whole Food Plant Based diet.
If you want to improve your health with a better source of fatty acids:
Eat walnuts and steer clear of any extracted oils, except maybe for a EPA/DHA algae oil supplement (which olive oil doesn't offer anyway).