If the thought of dipping crusty, fresh bread into a bowl of olive oil makes your heart skip a beat, then you’ll be super stoked about a recent scientific breakthrough. Turns out, if you keep a traditional Mediterranean diet with added olive oil, you just might have a lower risk of heart disease.
Lead study author Dr. Alvaro Hernáez of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute in Barcelona said, “A Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil improves the function of high-density lipoproteins, HDL, popularly known as `good’ cholesterol.”
To complete the study, 296 older adults at risk for cardiovascular disease were randomly assigned to one of three diets: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with one liter per week (about 34 fluid ounces) of extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30 grams (1 oz) of nuts a day, or a low-fat diet.
They found through blood tests and lab work that better HDL (good cholesterol) functioning occurred in the group assigned to the Mediterranean diet with extra olive oil.
So what should this type of diet include? Lots of fruits and legumes (hello antioxidants). Also, loads of veggies, whole grains and of course – olive oil. Lean proteins are also more preferred, such as chicken over red meats.