` Add Olive Oil to Vegetables to Lower Blood Pressure

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Add Olive Oil to Vegetables to Lower Blood Pressure

May. 22, 2014
By Elena Paravantes

Recent News

One of the main char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Mediter­ranean diet is the fre­quency of veg­etable-rich meals and sal­ads cooked in plenty of olive oil. And while we know that the addi­tion of olive oil to veg­eta­bles can increase the absorp­tion of vit­a­mins and antiox­i­dants, it appears that this pow­er­ful com­bi­na­tion has another sig­nif­i­cant health effect: it may pro­tect from high blood pres­sure.

A new study pub­lished in the jour­nal PNAS, sug­gests that an eat­ing pat­tern that com­bines unsat­u­rated fats (such as olive oil) with spe­cific veg­eta­bles rich in in nitrite and nitrates can pro­tect from hyper­ten­sion. Nitrite rich veg­eta­bles are mainly green leafy types such as spinach, wild greens, and root veg­eta­bles. These veg­eta­bles are con­sumed on a daily basis within a Mediter­ranean diet and always with olive oil. Researchers found that when these two foods are com­bined you have the for­ma­tion of nitro fatty acids.

For this study, mice were used to exam­ine how nitro fatty acids con­trol blood pres­sure by inhibit­ing an enzyme that is known to reg­u­late blood pres­sure.

The results showed that the mice genet­i­cally engi­neered not to be reac­tive to this enzyme process had no change in blood pres­sure, while in nor­mal mice the nitro fatty acids low­ered the blood pres­sure.

The researchers con­cluded that the com­mon com­bi­na­tion of unsat­u­rated fatty acids such as olive oil with these veg­eta­bles con­tributes to the pro­tec­tive action of the Mediter­ranean diet.

In another study pub­lished in the jour­nal PLOS ONE, researchers were able to demon­strate by using mass spec­trom­e­try, that extra vir­gin olive oil as well as fresh olives are also a source of nitro fatty acids on their own, thus poten­tially con­tribut­ing even more to the anti­hy­per­ten­sive effect.

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