The Mediterranean diet has a number of health benefits, including lowering the risk of developing peripheral arterial disease, reducing sleep apnea and even increasing life expectancy
A new study by Sapienza University, Rome shows that Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a healthier effect on cholesterol and blood sugar than other fats.
The Mediterranean diet is a popular eating style found in many countries, including Spain, Italy and Morocco. It focuses primarily on whole grains, vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy.
Extra virgin oil has been shown to help prevent heart disease. It is unclear how this works.
Researchers evaluated the health of the oil by adding 10 grams (approximately two tablespoons) Extra Virgin Olive Oil or 10 grams corn oil to a standard Mediterranean meal in 25 subjects who were not diabetic.
Participants were randomly given the option to either eat the meal with or without extra Virgin Olive Oil. The next month, participants were randomly chosen to either eat the meal with or without Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Two hours before and two hours after the meal, blood tests were done. The results showed that blood sugar levels rose less following the extra virgin olive oil meal (26.2% on average) than the meal with corn oil (40.7m/dl) or the meal without oil (53.6m/dl, on average span>
LDL (or "bad") cholesterol levels were also lower after meals with extra-virgin olive oil than when they were prepared with corn oil.
The study is not large but the researchers noted that it was the first to link lower cholesterol and blood sugar to Mediterranean diets with Extra virgin Olive Oil.