`Study Finds Olive Oil Can Be Better than Medication for Heart Disease

Health

Study Finds Olive Oil Can Be Better than Medication for Heart Disease

Sep. 21, 2011
Elena Paravantes

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Accord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary results of a Span­ish study part of PREDIMED, a long-term nutri­tional inter­ven­tion study aimed to assess the effi­cacy of the Mediter­ranean diet in the pri­mary pre­ven­tion of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases, vir­gin olive oil is more effec­tive in reduc­ing heart dis­ease than drugs.

Researchers are report­ing that a Mediter­ranean diet enriched with vir­gin olive oil or nuts can reverse arte­rioscle­ro­sis in carotid arter­ies in just one year.

The study included 187 par­tic­i­pants over the age of 55 who were ran­domly assigned to 3 groups; the olive oil group fol­lowed the Mediter­ranean diet sup­ple­mented with 15 liters of vir­gin olive oil per three months which cor­re­sponded to about 10 table­spoons a day, the nut group also fol­lowed the Mediter­ranean diet with 30 grams (about 1 ounce) a day of wal­nuts, almonds and hazel­nuts, and the low fat diet group which were given instruc­tions and mate­r­ial to fol­low a low-fat diet.

All the vol­un­teers had the thick­ness of the artery walls of their carotid arter­ies mea­sured, both at the begin­ning of the study and at the end of a year. We thus observed who had suf­fered the great­est thick­en­ing of this layer, due to arte­rioscle­ro­sis, a sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment and regres­sion of lesions hav­ing taken place in those cases that had fol­lowed a Mediter­ranean diet enriched with vir­gin olive oil or nuts. This improve­ment was not observed amongst those who did not have thick­en­ing of the artery wall at the start of the study,” accord­ing to Dr. Ana Sánchez-Tainta, one of the researchers.

From the results it was con­cluded that a mod­i­fi­ca­tion in the entire diet pat­tern man­aged to achieve, in just one year, results that phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drugs did not – even after two years of treat­ment.”

Carotid intima-media thick­ness changes with Mediter­ranean diet: A ran­dom­ized trial (PRED­IMED-Navarra).” Ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis. 2011 September;218(1):174 – 180.

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