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Keep healthy by knocking back the olive oil

Although a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down according to Mary Poppins, four tablespoons of virgin olive oil help to boost a healthy heart.

According to a study carried out in Spain, the Mediterranean diet increases the function of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol needed for a healthy heart. Adding four tablespoons of virgin olive oil to the diet boosts the improvements even further.

It works because HDL absorbs cholesterol, transporting it to the liver where it is removed from the body. As reported by senior study author Montserrat Fitó, small-scale trials show that eating foods rich in antioxidants such as olive oil, tomatoes and berries improve HDL function. “Following a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil could protect our cardiovascular health in several ways, including making our ‘good cholesterol’ work in a more complete way,” concluded Fito. This study was carried out on 296 people with an average age of 66 at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Blood tests show those eating a Med diet with extra olive oil had the best results. So, while the benefits of eating the Mediterranean way are well-known, it could pay to add an extra glug of olive oil.

To follow the Med diet, you will need to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds; limit red meat to a few times a month; eat fish and poultry twice a week at least; and replace butter with olive oil. You can even enjoy a glass or two of red wine with your meal if you wish!Although a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down according to Mary Poppins, four tablespoons of virgin olive oil help to boost a healthy heart. According to a study carried out in Spain, the Mediterranean diet increases the function of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol needed for a healthy heart. Adding four tablespoons of virgin olive oil to the diet boosts the improvements even further. It works because HDL absorbs cholesterol, transporting it to the liver where it is removed from the body. As reported by senior study author Montserrat Fitó, small-scale trials show that eating foods rich in antioxidants such as olive oil, tomatoes and berries improve HDL function. “Following a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil could protect our cardiovascular health in several ways, including making our ‘good cholesterol’ work in a more complete way,” concluded Fito.

This study was carried out on 296 people with an average age of 66 at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Blood tests show those eating a Med diet with extra olive oil had the best results. So, while the benefits of eating the Mediterranean way are well-known, it could pay to add an extra glug of olive oil. To follow the Med diet, you will need to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds; limit red meat to a few times a month; eat fish and poultry twice a week at least; and replace butter with olive oil. You can even enjoy a glass or two of red wine with your meal if you wish!

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