New Study Links Plant-Based Diet Patterns And Cardiovascular Health

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Importance Of Healthy Fats Such As Extra Virgin Olive Oil Demonstrated In Major Research

Updated October 26th 2021

Plant Based Diet And Heart Health
Plant Based Diet And Heart Health

What Are Cardiovascular Diseases?

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause.

An estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2016, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% are due to heart attack and stroke.

Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol using population-wide strategies.

Source: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) – World Health Organization

CVDs are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. They include:

  • Coronary heart disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle;
  • Cerebrovascular disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain;
  • Peripheral arterial disease – disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs;
  • Rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria;
  • Congenital heart disease – malformations of heart structure existing at birth;
  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.

At the age of 24, your risk for CVD is just 20%. By age 45, your chances more than double to 50%. Over the age of 80, 90% of individuals have some form of CVD.

In 2016, the cost of CVD in the USA alone was around $555Bn. This is expected to rise to $1.1Tr by 2035.

Source: Cardiovascular Disease – Health Metrics – American Heart …

 How Olive Oil Can Help Prevent Heart Disease

Olive oil intake has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Mediterranean populations where olive oil consumption is much higher than in the USA. To date little is known about these associations within the U.S population where consumption is much lower.

A study led by Marta Guasch-Ferre, a research scientist in the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston was carried out to investigate whether higher olive oil consumption was beneficial to heart health in the U.S. population.

The study, presented to the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention / Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions, examined 63,867 women and 35,512 men from 1990 to 2014. All participants were free of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases at the start of the study. Every four years, they answered questionnaires about their diet and lifestyle.

Researchers found those who ate more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day had a 15% lower risk of having any kind of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Replacing one teaspoon of butter, margarine, mayonnaise or dairy fat with the same amount of olive oil lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 5% and coronary heart disease by 7%.

The results, also published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, provide further reason to incorporate more plant-based foods into our daily diets, said nutrition expert Penny Kris-Etherton.

“Using vegetable oils in cooking and in salads makes good sense,” Kris-Etherton said in a news release. She is a distinguished professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University and chair of the AHA’s Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council.

“Research has overwhelmingly found that diets that are rich in plant-based foods, including healthier vegetable oils such as olive, safflower, corn and many others, can significantly benefit heart health,” she said.

Benefits Of A Plant Based Diet : A Further Study

A further study as added weight to the belief that opting for a plant-based diet – with low-saturated fat – can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

The research, conducted by The University of Minnesota, followed more than 4,700 people over 30 years, found that a plant-centred diet was associated with a lower long-term risk for cardiovascular disease than simply relying on a traditional ‘low-fat’ diet.

To remain healthy, we need moderate amounts of the right type of fats eaten as part of a good, balanced diet. However, a high fat intake and in particular, a high intake of saturated fats is associated with raised blood cholesterol and coronary heart disease.

Since 1980, dietary guidelines in the United States and in Europe have recommended eating low amounts of saturated fat because of the high rates of heart disease in these regions,” said research team leader David Jacobs, PhD, from the University of Minnesota. “This is not necessarily wrong, but our study shows that plant-centered diets can also lower bad cholesterol and may be even better at addressing heart disease risk.”

As reported in Webmd.com,  researchers conducted three detailed diet history interviews over the follow-up period and then calculated scores for each using the A Priori Diet Quality Score (APDQS). Higher APDQS scores were associated with higher intake of nutritionally rich plant foods and less high-fat meats. While those who consumed less saturated fats and plant-centered diets had lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, or lower levels of “bad” cholesterol, only the latter diet was also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke over the long term.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Monounsaturated Fats.

Fats are made up of fatty acids and glycerol. A fatty acid consists of a chain of carbon atoms, where each carbon atom in the chain is attached to hydrogen atoms. The number of hydrogen atoms per carbon atom determines whether the fatty acid is saturated or unsaturated.

If a pair of carbon atoms in the fatty acid chain is linked by a double bond instead of a single bond, the fatty acid is described as monounsaturated. Fats rich in monounsaturates tend to be liquid at room temperature. Olive Oil is one of the richest sources of monounsaturated fatty acids.

Monounsaturated fats—omega-6s in the case of olive oil—are important because they help boost heart health. This is important for helping prevent health issues such as cardiovascular disease or stroke.

Every bottle of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil guarantees you an unfiltered, unblended, pure and natural olive oil experience, high in health enhancing polyphenols. 

What Is In 1 Tablespoon Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

One serving or 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil contains the following:

  • 120 calories
  • 10 grams of monounsaturated fat
  • 2 grams of saturated fat
  • 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat
  • 1.9 milligrams of vitamin E (10 percent of Daily Value)
  • 8.1 micrograms of vitamin K (10 percent of DV)

The following illustrates the differing fat contents of a range of products.

Fat Content Comparison Not All Fats Are The Same
Fat Content Comparison Not All Fats Are The Same

Simple Ways To Swap To Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil As Part Of Mediterranean Diet
Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Cooking

There’s a lot of evidence to support the health benefits that extra virgin olive oil can bring, but rather than simply adding it to your existing diet you should be looking for ways to make substitutions to use it more frequently.

That’s according to a recent article from Click2Houston, which pointed out how little butter, margarine or mayonnaise you need to swap out to make a meaningful difference to your health.

It cited research conducted in the USA, which found that replacing just five grams of margarine, butter or mayonnaise with the same amount of olive oil reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by up to seven per cent.

The news provider revealed that those who used more than seven grams of olive oil in their diets each day – the equivalent of half a teaspoon – lowered their risk of any cardiovascular disease by 15 per cent, and their risk of coronary artery disease by 21 per cent.

Replace, don’t add, was the message from the report’s author Dr Frank Hu, chair of the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The main thing is to replace unhealthy fats with olive oil that can improve cholesterol, reduce inflammatory biomarkers and improve cardiovascular health,” Dr Hu stated.

If you’re looking to change your regular cooking oil, opt for extra virgin olive oil, the news provider revealed, as this produces the lowest level of trans fats and other potentially harmful byproducts when heated to high temperatures.

Last month, Medical Xpress shared the findings of a study carried out by the University of Barcelona, which revealed that extra virgin olive oil retains its levels of antioxidants, even when it’s heated and used for cooking.

You can buy our premium olive oil online, so there’s no need to go without high-quality extra virgin olive oil in your kitchen.

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