Olive Oil Consumption And Cardiovascular Risk

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Olive Oil Fights Against Cardiovascular Disease
Olive Oil Fights Against Cardiovascular Disease

A new study from the University of Naples has added weight to existing evidence that following a Mediterranean Diet, rich in quality olive oil considerably lowers the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

The study,  which was published in Cardiovascular Research, explored the link between specific food groups and heart disease. According to a report in the Olive Oil Times, researchers hope their meta-analysis provides a new context for the public to consider the dietary choices they make on a daily basis.

“Most dietary recommendations look specifically at nutrients and not at foods. The evidence on which they are based is evidence related to nutrients,” Gabriele Riccardi, the study’s lead author, told Olive Oil Times.

“Since people are eating foods and not nutrients, you have to translate this information into foods,” he added. “We wanted to look right at the foods and see what is the evidence in all the available literature worldwide on these large databases to look at the relationship between specific food consumption and cardiovascular disease.”

Replace Butter With Olive Oil To Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease

At Morocco Gold, we have long supported the case for substituting saturated fats for a high quality extra virgin olive oil.   And this latest Italian research further supports the benefits of making the switch.  Researchers state:

The evidence is highly concordant in showing that, for the healthy adult population, low consumption of salt and foods of animal origin, and increased intake of plant-based foods – whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts – are linked with reduced atherosclerosis risk.  The same applies for the replacement of butter and other animal and tropical fats with olive oil and other unsaturated-fat-rich oil.”

As summarised by The Olive Oil Times report, the researchers found that processed red meat and unprocessed red meat were highly correlated with increased incidence of and mortality from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.

The study also reported that the consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole-grain cereals reduced the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.

In five out of six studies undertaken, researchers found an inverse relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Green leafy vegetables showed the highest levels of reducing risk for the two diseases.

This was also the case for olive oil, which was highly correlated to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

To be specific, the study reported that a five-gram increase of olive oil consumption was associated with a seven-percent decrease in coronary heart disease incidence, a four-percent decrease in cardiovascular disease incidence and an eight-percent decrease in cardiovascular disease mortality.

The results of their study led the researchers to draft a new food consumption guide (below) which has some similarities to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s food guide pyramid. 

Food Consumption Chart
Health Related Food Consumption Chart

Focus on Foods To Include Such As Olive Oil, Vegetables, Fruit And Whole Grains

“If we want to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease worldwide, it is much more appropriate, feasible and cost-effective if we ask people to concentrate on foods items to promote rather than food items to reduce. It’s much more effective in reducing cardiovascular disease to tell people to increase your consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and utilize olive oil for salads,”

Gabriele Riccardi

“Instead, it is much easier and direct to tell the consumers, in relation to cooking fat, olive oils should be the preferred source of monounsaturated fats and should replace butter and other animal fats or tropical oils whenever possible,” Riccardi added.

Riccardi hopes that basing the study on solid evidence and giving emphasis to positive change rather than negative change can help to persuade people to make the best choices for their health.

“The healthy diet is not a punishment for people,” Riccardi said. “Instead, it is a resource of gastronomic appeal and pleasure at the table.”

And that is a message that Morocco Gold champions with vigour!

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