Adding olive oil to diet may repair failing hearts. According to a study published in the journal Circulation, a common dietary fat called oleate that is present in olive oil may help restoration of metabolism that may get disturbed in case of heart failure.
When the heart fails, it’s unable to carry out normal processes of using stored fats as fuel. These fats are normally stored as tiny droplets called lipid bodies in muscle cells of the heart. When the heart becomes unable to use these fats, it causes the muscle to become starved of energy. Without fat metabolism by the heart muscle cells, they break down into toxic intermediary by-products that could further contribute to heart disease.
For the study, researchers analysed rat hearts for their reaction to oleate or palmitate, a fat associated with the Western diet and found in dairy products, animal fats and palm oil. They perfused failing rat hearts with oleate and observed an immediate improvement in the action of contraction and pumping blood.
According to senior study author E. Douglas Lewandowski from the University of Illinois – Chicago, US, the study supports the idea that consumption if healthy fats like oleate can have a significantly positive effect on cardiac health even after the disease has begun.
In addition to balancing fat metabolism and reducing toxic by-products in hyper-trophic hearts, oleate also restored the activation of several genes for enzymes that metabolise fat, the findings of the study showed. ‘These genes are often suppressed in hyper-trophic hearts,’ Lewandowski added. ‘The fact that we can restore beneficial gene expression, as well as more balanced fat metabolism, plus reduce toxic fat metabolites, just by supplying hearts with oleate – a common dietary fat – is a very exciting finding,’ Lewandowski pointed out.
Olive oil may be the most essential part of the Mediterranean diet but today it is used more widely because of its extensive health benefits. One such amazing benefit is that it helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Mainly attributing its benefits to its richness in unsaturated fats or good fats, here’s how olive oil works to keep your heart healthy.
- It reduces cholesterol: Cholesterol is the major contributor of heart disease, and olive oil lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood without altering the good cholesterol levels. Some studies suggest that it may even boost good cholesterol. One of the studies suggested that olive oil may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol due to antioxidant-like properties.
- Lowers blood pressure: Studies have shown that having olive oil regularly can even help you lower your blood pressure. A study by Theodora Psaltopoulou and colleagues showed that people who had a Mediterranean diet had reduced diastolic as well as systolic BP.
- Lowers stroke risk: Most of the deaths due to heart disease are caused due to stoke, and olive oil may have a role to play in reducing that too. A study carried out by scientists from France suggested that citizens who had olive oil regularly in their diet had a lowered incidence of stroke. The study found that participants who consumed more amount of olive oil (in cooking or salad dressing) had a 41% reduced risk of stroke compared to participants who did not use olive oil at all.
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- Psaltopoulou T et al. Olive oil, the Mediterranean diet, and arterial blood pressure: the Greek European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.
- C. Samieri et al. Olive oil consumption, plasma oleic acid, and stroke incidence
Aviram M, Eias K. Dietary olive oil reduces low-density lipoprotein uptake by macrophages and decreases the susceptibility of the lipoprotein to undergo lipid peroxidation