Olive Oil Helps Keep the Heart Young

Research shows that a diet rich in olive oil may be able to actually slow down the aging of the heart. It is a known fact that as we grow older the heart also goes through a normal aging process. The arteries may not function as well as they did and this can eventually lead to a number of health problems.

However, in a recent study, Spanish researchers from the Lipids and Atherosclerosis Research Unit of the Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba, found out that a diet rich in olive oil or other monounsaturated fats could indeed improve the arterial function of elderly people.The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the effect of a Mediterranean style diet rich and vibrant in Olive Oilwith that of a low fat high carbohydrate diet and a diet rich in saturated fats and came to a conclusion that the diet rich in olive oil resulted in bringing down endothelial damage and dysfunction. The endothelium is a layer of cells that line the inner walls of the arteries and help the blood circulate smoothly.

When the endothelium is damaged as a result of us aging, it releases endothelial microparticles. In this study the researchers measured the number of these microparticles as well as another type of cell, which replaces damaged endothelial cells.

The results showed that when healthy elderly participants followed the Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, they had a lower number of the damaging microparticles and higher concentrations of the cells that replace damaged endothelial cells compared with the other two diets.

Tese measurements suggest that the endothelium of blood vessels are less affected by the deterioration associated with age when following a Mediterranean diet that is based on olive oil.

Although the study was fairly small — it involved 20 healthy elderly individuals — it’s the first to sustain similar results associating the Mediterranean diet with the circulatory system of the elderly, according to a statement from the hospital.