The news that olive oil and vegetables are good for your heart is not going to stop the presses or even spark the tweets. It has been quite well established that olive oil is a heart healthy food as are vegetables. A new study though has been of such magnitude that it deserves attention.
Researchers used dietary information collected from almost 30 000 Italian women whose mean age was 50 at the beginning of the study. The women were tracked for eight years with note made of those who developed heart disease.
The results showed that women who ate at least one daily serving (about 60grams) of leafy vegetables, like raw lettuce or cooked spinach, had a 46 per cent lower chance of developing heart disease than those women who only ate one or two serves per week. Those women who consumed at least 30mls of olive oil per day reduced their risk of heart disease by 44 per cent compared to women who only had 15mls or less daily.
One of the main drivers for these results would be the folic acid content of green leafy vegetables. Folic acid reduces levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood and homocysteine is a known risk factor for heart disease.
Olive oil contains antioxidants which may protect blood vessels but it is also an excellent source of monounsaturated fats which have a positive balancing effect on cholesterol levels.
None of this is revolutionary but the size of the study, the numbers of women involved and the duration, added to the significant findings make it worth noting and reminding ourselves of the healing power that the right foods can have.