If you want to manage your cholesterol levels more so if you have an elevated cardiovascular disease risk you should try Mediterranean diets with more virgin olive oil serving. A new study has established that a combination of the Mediterranean diet can enhance the effects of good cholesterol. According to the Mayo Clinic, a Mediterranean diet comprises vegetables, fruits, rice, and pasta.
Virgin olive oil-rich diet beneficial for the heart
The research’s assertion is based on the study published in the American Heart Association’s Circulation journal. The study considered 296 individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease aged 66 years on average who were selected randomly to eat three diets. The first diet plan followed a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil while the second was enriched with a fistful of nuts per day. The third diet was a control diet that involved the consumption of red meat, high-fat dairy products, processed foods, and sweets. The participants used the diet for over a year.
Interestingly the Mediterranean diets more so the one with extra virgin olive oil improved high-density lipoproteins (HDL) functioning. HDL which is known as good cholesterol is usually beneficial in different ways in reducing cardiovascular disease risk. For instance, it removes cholesterol from arteries and prevents low-density lipoproteins from oxidizing and prompting plaque development in arteries. HDL is also vital in relaxing blood vessels for the smooth flow of blood.
A Mediterranean diet good for individuals at risk of cardiovascular disease
For individuals with high cardiovascular disease risk like the ones the study considered, HDL usually doesn’t work well. Therefore this supports the assertion that a Mediterranean diet rich in oil could be beneficial for this demographic. However, the research team was surprised to establish that the control diet reduced overall cholesterol levels and LDL and also reduced positive HDL function. Equally the researchers noted that since all the three diets were healthy there was no much difference in results.
Senior study author Montserrat Fito said that taking a Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil can protect one from cardiovascular risks in various ways.