Heart Healthy Olives Rise To Fame

Heart HealthyHeart healthy olives are on the rise to fame. A pressing question in the world of diet has always been, to eat fat or not eat fat, that is the question. According to a recent study from the King’s College London, it has now been determined that eating olive oil with nitrite rich vegetables can ward off hypertension. This is now believed to be the key to the success of the long-standing, heart healthy Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean Diet has stood the test of time for keeping people healthy. People used to attribute the health of this diet to red wine, but, researchers are saying, not so fast. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal published information that recognized the unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados when combined with nitrate-rich vegetables such as spinach, leafy lettuce, carrots and celery created a reaction. This reaction between the unsaturated fats and the nitrogen compounds resulted in the creation of nitro fatty acids. These nitro fatty acids were found to inhibit soluable Epoxide Hydrolase which is now known to be instrumental in lowering blood pressure.

The confirmation of this discovery came when researchers from the University of California in the US and Philip Eaton, professor from King’s College London, determined that it was the fusion of the ingredients that lowered blood pressure. They refer to this fusion as a chemical reaction. Researchers used a mouse model of both normal mice and genetically engineered mice to watch what impact the nitro fatty acids had on their systems. The blood pressure in the normal mice was lowered when given the nitro fatty acids, but the genetically engineered mice, which would not have the enzyme Epoxide Hydrolase in their system, showed no change. Since humans have the same Epoxide Hydrolase enzyme as the normal mice, they expect that humans respond in the same way the normal mice did, which explains what is behind the success of the Mediterranean diet.

The British Heart Foundation’s Dr. Sanjay Thakar said that this study offers explanation as to the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, in that this compound of nitro fatty acids will be essential in combating the risk factor for hypertension and heart disease. He did go on to say that there was definitely more work to be done in this area. The British Heart Foundation helped fund this study, and they have found themselves to be caught up in a bit of a sticky-wicket because of a previous stance they had taken that touted eating fats as causing heart disease. The dietary villain, fat, is now viewed as a slimming meltdown for positive health. Villain fats are red meat or animal fats, butter, and lard; with good fats being olive oil, nuts and avocados.

Nature’s protective mechanism is how Professor Philip Eaton dubs the chemical fusion of the veggies and olive oil. He believes that cardiovascular disease could be prevented if these nitro fatty acids can be harnessed into a pharmaceutical drug, but, did go on to say that personal diet challenges should be taken on to prove effectiveness of this revelation. Love those heart healthy olives as they rise to fame.

Prior assumptions regarding the Mediterranean diet were that the health of the diet was contributed to the high consumption of fruits and vegetables, which is truly healthy. However, those in southern Europe continued to eat fatty lamb, cheese and full-fat yogurt along with red meat dishes, which would dismantle the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet except for one tiny little factor: olive oil. The use of olive oil was consistent in their diets, even when eating the above mentioned fatty items. It is important to observe the importance of moderation with the more fatty items. Even though those living in the Mediterranean area may enjoy some of the fatty red meats and cheeses, they do so in smaller proportions.

The American Thoracic Society International Conference recently disclosed that American government scientists have been studying the impact of air pollution on health. When diesel engines emit microscopic particles, it causes blood vessels to constrict and harden due to the increase of inflammation, which then raises the risk for blood clots and elevated blood pressure. Asthma, stroke and heart disease are now being more closely observed since new findings connect these diseases to air pollutants. The good news is that olive oil is rising to fame offering heart healthy protection.

Research Biologist, Dr. Haiyan Tong with the US Environmental Protection Agency said that their study shows that olive oil supplements may be protective against exposure to air pollutants. Another study confirmed that pregnant women who are exposed to air pollution are likely to have babies that will develop asthma as the delicate lungs of developing babies can be damaged by air pollutants. Researchers confirmed that eating as little as two-thirds of a teaspoon of olive oil daily can be effective in offering protection to the heart.

So, the tiny little olive packs a big punch when it comes to nutritional benefits in connection with being heart healthy. Olive oil joining forces with those nitrate rich veggies to create nitro fatty acids is huge, considering that its ability to lower blood pressure as well as protect the heart and arteries offers maximized benefits. Healthy hearts will also rise to fame as these olives combined with nitrate rich veggies are consumed.

By Jill Boyer-Adriance

Sources:
BBC News
The Guardian
Red Orbit
The Telegraph

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