`More Evidence Olive Oil is Good for the Heart

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More Evidence Olive Oil is Good for the Heart

Jan. 12, 2011
Christian Brazil Bautista

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By Chris­t­ian Brazil Bautista
Olive Oil Times Con­trib­u­tor | Report­ing from Manila, Philip­pines

Researchers from the Can­cer Research and Pre­ven­tion Insti­tute in Flo­rence, Italy have pub­lished a study that claims that women who eat olive oil and leafy veg­eta­bles have a lower risk of get­ting heart dis­ease. The research claims that women who con­sume at least three table­spoons of olive oil a day are 40 per­cent less likely to develop heart dis­ease.

In an inter­view with Reuters Health, the study’s author, Dr. Domenico Palli from the Can­cer Research and Pre­ven­tion Insti­tute, said that it remains unclear how the con­sump­tion of olive oil reduces the risk of heart dis­ease. Prob­a­bly the
mech­a­nisms respon­si­ble for the pro­tec­tive effect of plant-ori­gin foods on
car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases involve micronu­tri­ents such as folate, antiox­i­dant
vit­a­mins and potas­sium, all present in green leafy veg­eta­bles,” Palli said.

Palli said that the pos­i­tive effects on the heart might be due to folate, which low­ers the blood lev­els of homo­cys­teine. Homo­cys­teine, which dam­ages the inner lin­ing of arter­ies, is said to increase the like­li­hood of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease. Palli adds that vir­gin olive oil, which has high lev­els of antiox­i­dant plant com­pounds, is likely to be effec­tive at low­er­ing the risk of heart dis­ease.

The research also found that women who con­sume at least an ounce of olive oil a day are 44 per­cent less likely to develop heart dis­ease. The study is not the first to claim a link between olive oil and a reduced risk for heart dis­ease. The Mediter­ranean diet, an impor­tant com­po­nent of which is olive oil, is said to lower risk the of heart dis­ease as well as can­cer and dia­betes.

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For the study, Dr. Palli and his col­leagues col­lected dietary infor­ma­tion from about 30,000 women in Italy. Researchers fol­lowed women with a mean age of 50 for an aver­age of eight years. In a report pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nutri­tion, the researchers reported that sub­jects expe­ri­enced 144 major heart dis­ease-related events for the dura­tion of the study. The events include cases of heart attacks and bypass surgery.

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