New Study Links Olive Oil Rich Mediterranean Diet With Adolescent Health.
Teenagers who stick to the principles of the Mediterranean Diet may be helping to reduce the risk factors associated with metabolic and chronic diseases later in life, according to a new report.
The study, conducted by researchers in Calabria, Italy, is based on analysis of the serum of healthy adolescents, aged 14 to 17. It concluded that:
“Optimal adherence to the MD [Mediterranean Diet], rich in fruits, legumes, vegetables, and nuts, exerts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in adolescents that may be due to the healthy quality of the MD pattern, which may have a positive impact on the prevention of metabolic and chronic diseases in adulthood.”
Speaking to the Olive Oil Times,” Daniela Bonofiglio, a professor of pathology, nutrition and dietetics at the University of Calabria said: “Our results highlight the importance of the Mediterranean diet as a choice of healthy dietary quality in adolescents,”
“Serum from optimal adherers showed anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which may exert a positive impact on the prevention of metabolic and chronic diseases in adulthood,” she added.
Researchers used the Mediterranean Diet Quality Index for children and teenagers (KIDMED) as a benchmark to ‘score’ adherence to the Mediterranean diet by study participants.
A value of +1 was assigned for the intake of whole cereals or grain, vegetables, fruits, legumes, dairy products, fish, nuts and olive oil. A value of −1 was assigned for skipping breakfast, eating fast food and consuming baked goods and sweets.
The results were ranked from zero to 12, with ‘optimal adherence’ considered a score of eight or more and ‘poor adherence’ a score of three or lower.
Subjects provided information on their daily meals through a 24-hour dietary recall completed via an interview conducted by nutritionists. This enabled the potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to be assessed using various biomarkers, as well as nutritional intake.
The results of the study showed that among the 43 percent of participants who scored in the ‘optimal adherence’ category, there was clear evidence of increased levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
The Mediterranean Diet And Reduced Risk Of Disease
Bonofiglio told the Olive Oil Times that the results offered further evidence to support the importance of a healthy diet for adolescents.
“We think that the empowerment of the Mediterranean diet adherence represents a protective choice against a wide spectrum of chronic diseases, including cancer,” she said.
The research team plans to continue investigating the impact of consuming a Mediterranean diet on young people.
“Based on our recent results, we will investigate in adolescents the association of biochemical serum parameters with polyphenolic content of the Mediterranean diet foods, which have received considerable attention for their antioxidant health-promoting properties in many chronic disorders,” Bonofiglio said.
“Moreover, we will deeply explore the micronutrients composition of the Mediterranean diet in correlation with circulating levels of biomarkers of deficiency in our population sample,” she concluded.
Is olive oil good for kids’ health?
The research findings from The University of Calabria come on the back of mounting evidence to show that including a quality olive oil in our children’s diet from a young age is good for their health.
A recent extract from parenting blog Mom Junction listed seven amazing benefits of olive oil for kids. These include promoting brain development, providing a rich source of vitamins and reduced risk of obesity. Extra Virgin Olive Oils, like Morocco Gold, are a great way to add healthy fats to your children’s diet – helping to keep their immune system and growing bodies strong.
A quality extra virgin olive oil such as Morocco Gold is also rich in oleic acid, vitamin E and a variety of polyphenols. These antioxidant compounds have been reported as beneficial for the development of children and particularly can help with the arteries health, but also improving the absorption of calcium and reduce constipation.
So, with all of this building evidence of the health benefits associated with The Mediterranean Diet could it be time to look for clever ways to incorporate more extra virgin olive oil in your family’s meals?
For inspiration on Mediterranean inspired cooking and ways to increase the olive oil factor in your kitchen, take a look at Morocco Gold’s recipe page here. Full details of the study can be found here.