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Posts tagged ‘olive oil’

Why olive oil lowers blood pressure

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Eating unsaturated fats, like those in olive oil, along with leafy greens and other vegetables creates a certain kind of fatty acid that lowers blood pressure, scientists say.

 

The secret to the Mediterranean diet may be in the salad.

Eating unsaturated fats, like those in olive oil, along with leafy greens and other vegetables creates a certain kind of fatty acid that lowers blood pressure, scientists said recently.

These nitro fatty acids are formed when consuming spinach, celery and carrots that are filled with nitrates and nitrites, along with avocado, nuts and olive oils that contain healthy fats.

Nitro fatty acids appear to inhibit an enzyme known as soluble epoxide hydrolase, which regulates blood pressure, said the research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal.

The study was based on experiments in lab mice, and was funded by the British Heart Foundation.

“The findings of our study help to explain why previous research has shown that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular problems like stroke, heart failure and heart attacks,” said Philip Eaton, professor of cardiovascular biochemistry at King’s College London.

While most experts agree that the Mediterranean diet – which consists of lots of vegetables, fish, grains, red wine and fatty nuts and oils – brings health benefits, there has been little scientific consensus about how or why.

Some have touted red wine as a driving force behind the ability of Europeans to eat high fat cheeses and meats while maintaining better overall health than Americans.

But research published last week found that a key antioxidant in red wine, resveratrol, did not help people in Italy live longer or avoid cancer or heart disease. – AFP Relaxnews

via Why olive oil lowers blood pressure – Health | The Star Online.

Olive oil and salad combined ‘explain’ Med diet success

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The combination of olive oil and leafy salad or vegetables is what gives the Mediterranean diet its healthy edge, say scientists.

 

When these two food groups come together they form nitro fatty acids which lower blood pressure, they told PNAS journal.

The unsaturated fat in olive oil joins forces with the nitrite in the vegetables, the study of mice suggests.

Nuts and avocados along with vegetables should work too, they say.

Inspired by traditional cuisine of countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy, the Mediterranean diet has long been associated with good health and fit hearts.

Typically, it consists of an abundance of vegetables, fresh fruit, wholegrain cereals, olive oil and nuts, as well as poultry and fish, rather than lots of red meat and butter or animal fats.

While each component of the Mediterranean diet has obvious nutritional benefits, researchers have been puzzled about what precisely makes the diet as a whole so healthy.

Chemical reaction

Prof Philip Eaton, from King’s College London, and colleagues from the University of California in the US believe it is the fusion of the diet’s ingredients that make nitro fatty acids.

In their study, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation, the researchers used genetically engineered mice to see what impact nitro fatty acids had on the body.

Nitro fatty acids helped lower blood pressure by blocking an enzyme called epoxide hydrolase.

Prof Eaton said: “Humans have this same enzyme so we think the same happens in people.”

This explains why a Mediterranean diet is healthy, even though it contains fat, he says.

“With the fats in the Med diet, if taken together with nitrates or nitrites, there’s a chemical reaction and these combine to form nitro fatty acids.

“It’s nature’s protective mechanism. If we can tap into this we could make new drugs for treating high blood pressure and preventing heart disease,” he said.

He said human trials were planned.

Dr Sanjay Thakrar of the British Heart Foundation said: “This interesting study goes some way to explain why a Mediterranean diet appears to be good for your heart health. The results showed a way in which a particular compound could combat high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

“However, more work is necessary as these experiments were conducted in mice and this compound could also be having its effect through other pathways.”

via BBC News – Olive oil and salad combined ‘explain’ Med diet success.

Olive oil, nuts dietary keys to cut heart risks: study

A Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fish, fruit, legumes and wine reduced the risk of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease by 30 percent, a major new study has found.

The study, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, followed 4,479 people in Spain — men and women age 55 to 80 — over a five-year period, finding dramatic confirmation of previous observations of such a diet’s health benefits.

“We observed that an energy unrestricted Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts, resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events among high-risk persons,” the study concluded.

It put the risk reduction at “approximately 30 percent, among high risk persons who were initially free of cardiovascular disease. These results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular risk reduction.”

Participants in the study, which was led by Ramon Estruch, a professor of medicine at the University of Barcelona, were divided into three groups including a control group on a low-fat diet.

One group followed a traditional Mediterranean diet supplemented by four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil a day. A second group followed the same diet, but instead of the olive oil consumed about 30 grams a day of mixed nuts.

Participants in those two groups also ate at least three servings of fruits and two of legumes a day. They also ate fish three times a week and favored white meat like chicken instead of red meat.

They were also strongly encouraged not to eat commercially baked goods, pastries and sweets, and to limit their consumption of dairy products and processed meats.

For those who normally drank wine with their meals, their diet called for seven glasses of wine a week.

Researchers could tell whether the study participants were following the diets by measuring markers for olive oil in their urine or a blood marker for the mixed nuts.

They found that participants stuck to the Mediterranean diets, but that the low-fat control diet led to only small reductions in fat.

“The interventions were intended to improve the overall dietary pattern, but the major between-group differences involved the supplemental items,” the study said.

“Thus, extra virgin olive oil and nuts were probably responsible for most of the observed benefits of the Mediterranean diets,” it said.

-AFP/ac – http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/health/view/1256686/1/.html

Fried food ‘fine for heart’ if cooked with olive oil

By Michelle Roberts Health reporter, BBC News

Eating fried food may not be bad for the heart, as long as you use olive or sunflower oil to make it, experts say.

They found no heightened risk of heart disease or premature death linked to food that had been cooked in this way.

But the investigators stress that their findings, from studying the typical Spanish diet in which these “healthy” oils are found in abundance, do not apply to lard or other cooking oils.

So traditional fry ups should not be the order of the day, bmj.com reports.

When food is fried it becomes more calorific because the food absorbs the fat of the oils.

And experts know that eating lots of fat-laden food can raise blood pressure and cause high cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease.

For the study, the researchers at the Autonomous University of Madrid surveyed 40,757 adults about their diet.

The participants were asked about what types of food they ate in a typical week and how that food was prepared and cooked.

None of the adults had any sign of heart disease at the start of the 11-year study, but by the end of it 606 heart disease events and 1,134 deaths had occurred.

When the researchers looked at these heart events in detail, they could find no link with fried food in the diet.

This, they believe, is down to the type of oil the food is cooked in.

The Med diet

Before we all reach for the frying pan, it’s important to remember that this was a study of a Mediterranean diet rather than British fish and chips”

Victoria Taylor British Heart Foundation

In an accompanying editorial, Professor Michael Leitzmann from the University of Regensburg in Germany said: “Taken together, the myth that frying food is generally bad for the heart is not supported by available evidence.

“However, this does not mean that frequent meals of fish and chips will have no health consequences.

“The study suggests that specific aspects of frying food are relevant, such as the oil used, together with other aspects of the diet.”

Mediterranean diets have long been hailed as healthy, being packed full of low-fat, high-fibre fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh fish.

And numerous studies have shown a balanced diet such as this can cut the risk of illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

Victoria Taylor, a senior heart health dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Before we all reach for the frying pan, it’s important to remember that this was a study of a Mediterranean diet rather than British fish and chips. Our diet in the UK will differ from Spain, so we cannot say that this result would be the same for us too.

“Participants in this study used unsaturated fats such as olive and sunflower oil to fry their food. We currently recommend swapping saturated fats like butter, lard or palm oil for unsaturated fats as a way of keeping your cholesterol down and this study gives further cause to make that switch.

“Regardless of the cooking methods used, consuming foods with high fat content means a high calorie intake. This can lead to weight gain and obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease. A well-balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and veg and only a small amount of high fat foods, is best for a healthy heart.”

BBC

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