The Mediterranean diet is known to contain a variety of beneficial effects on health, from lowering peripheral arterial disease risk to reducing sleep apnea, to even increasing life expectancy.
In addition, according to a new study from Sapienza University in Rome, Extra Virgin Olive Oil as part of a Mediterranean diet seems to have healthier effects on cholesterol and blood sugar after meals than other types of fat in general.
The Mediterranean diet, which is a common eating style in countries like Spain, Italy, Morocco, Morocco, and Greece, mainly focuses on whole grain, vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy, nuts and legumes as well as extra virgin olive oils.
Research has shown that extra virgin oil may help prevent cardiovascular disease. However, it is not clear how this happens.
To determine how the oil benefits heart and blood vessel health, researchers evaluated the effects of adding either no oil, 10 grams (approximately 2 tablespoons) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or 10 grams of corn oil to a standard Mediterranean lunch in 25 subjects without diabetes.
In the first stage of the study, the participants were randomly assigned to eat the meal either with or without the additional Extra Virgin Olive Oil. A month later, these same participants were randomly assigned to eat the meal either with the addition of Extra Virgin Olive Oil or the addition of corn oil.
The test revealed that blood tests were taken two hours prior to and two hours following the meals. They showed that blood sugar levels rose less after the extra virgin olive oil meal (26.2 mg/dl on average) than after the meal with corn oil (40.7m/dl on average) or without additional oil (53.6m/dl on average).
Also, LDL (or "bad") cholesterol levels were lower after meals with extra virgin olive oil than those with corn oil or none.
Although the study is small, the researchers note that it is one of the first to connect lower cholesterol and blood sugar after meals to a Mediterranean diet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.