Liquid Gold: Olive oil and nuts reduce heart disease
The Mediterranean diet has proven to be extremely helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease, strokes and heart attacks
Adding more olive oil and nuts to a balanced Mediterranean diet will reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and heart attacks by 30 per cent a new Spanish study says.
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are widely known, but now new evidence shows olive oil and three specific nuts are much better for you than previously thought.
The study involved more than 7,000 high-risk volunteers over a five year period, all of whom were diabetic or had a host of risk factors including obesity, high cholesterol, family history of heart disease or smoking.
The volunteers were placed in three groups, one group was told to eat a low fat diet, while the other two were told to eat a Mediterranean diet and were given a free five year supply of olive oil, with the third group given a five year supply of three different nuts.
They found that those patients placed on a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil and nuts were much better off than those who were told to watch their fat intake. Those just on a high olive oil diet were not as well off as those who combined it with about 30 grams of nuts a day.
Head of Department in Dietetics and Human Nutrition at LaTrobe University, Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos believes the findings are relative to the hidden powers of olive oil and nuts.
"The types of fat in olive oil are healthier types of fat that are not linked to heart disease like animal fat is and it's also a fat that is more stable," she tells Neos Kosmos.
"Some types of fats like seed oils, when you cook with them, they do change, they become unhealthier as you fry with them or cook with them, where as olive oil is more stable."
Extra virgin olive oil is also very healthy thanks to the high amount of antioxidants in it.
"We believe the antioxidants prevent damage to the arteries even in people that have disease, antioxidants prevent the damage that the disease can cause, like diabetes," she says.
"You're offering your body some protection to that disease".
In the study, three nuts were given to the volunteers, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. The boost in preventative measures from nuts could be traced back to the nuts' own antioxidant properties.
"Nuts equally have got a polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found particularly in the skin," Dr Itsiopoulos says.
"We Greeks eat the almond with the skin. That's where a lot of these polyphenols are concentrated and they are protective like the olive oils' antioxidants and the oil in these groups of nuts are very good, walnuts have a plant version of omega 3 fats, so it's a precursor to fish oils."
Cooking methods of the Mediterranean diet have also contributed to making it a much healthier diet than others. The slow cooking method under low heat brings out a more favourable cooking profile in the food.
The eating habits Greek migrants have also shown just how useful the Mediterranean diet can be in the long term. Studies have shown that, Greek migrants are living longer and are healthier than their Australians counterparts.
Australians convert to the diet have seen up to a 70 per cent reduction in a fatty liver and their risk for diabetes reduced considerably.
That's why the Mediterranean remains the diet of choice for doctors to prescribe.
"We're encouraging people to follow the basic principles, it doesn't have to be to the letter to a traditional recipe from the Mediterranean diet, but the basic principles which is: olive oil as your main fat, make sure you have half a kilo of fruit and vegetables everyday, legumes and limit processed foods, limit processed meats in particular and when you are having meat make your they're lean and include fish in your diet," says Dr Itsiopoulos.
- Register Now
- Cyprus closer to unification
- Spike Lee reimagines Lysistrata
- A journey to the Holy Land
- George's on Waymouth wins a spot in the Hall of Fame
- Ancient Greek site found in southern Ukraine
- Hardship for fashion label Arthur Galan
- American Greek Orthodox church vandalised
- "Starve IS of cash"- Yanis Varoufakis
- A history of Hydra, a story of creativity
- Ange Postecoglou's story told by ABC
- Why I am Orthodox
- Greek moguls make the BRW cut
- Tornado warning for Melbourne
- Terrorist mastermind had been tracked in Omonia, Athens
- Quake hits Greek island two dead
- Australia's first Byzantine monastery
- Unlooted tomb in Pylos a stunning discovery
- Putin and Obama hold talks on G20 sidelines
- Making risotto the Greek way
- Dane Bouris faces court
A non-Greek explains why he converted
The title of Greek Australian academic Dr Christos Fifis' latest publication, is a particularly apt one.
Awarded the honoris causa in recognition of his outstanding contributions.
Climbs to the fourth spot at the table, with four wins from six games.
Santorini, Rhodes, Heraklion and Corfu occupy 4 out of 10 spots in list of most dreaded airport experiences.
Backlash as Foxtel loses rights from 2016 season.
Team led by Greek Australian surgeon uses ground-breaking method to save 12-year-old.
Plan for a new social security contribution hike.
There are also several reports of tornadoes from Craigeburn, Campbellfied and Tullamarine area.
Tech giant claims to be able to interpret people’s moods through photos.
The parliamentary discussion on the bill was voted upon yesterday.
Dual nationals could face losing their Australian citizenship in a bid to protect the nation's national security.
Greek PM insists the refugee crisis must be dealt with as a joint European problem.
As part of Melbourne Music Week, the Hellenic Museum presents
the iconic music Leonard Cohen produced on the Greek island.
Drawing on the Paris terrorist attacks.
The famous director has been recognised at this year's Environmental Media Awards.
Can 'ethnic cleansing' result in the eradication of a group?
Clubs to go it alone after merger called off.