It is not a surprise that the Mediterranean diet ranks as one of the most famous and applied regimes around the world. With its rich menu, full of delicious dishes this way of eating had gained many followers for a very short period of time. But what makes it so efficient? There is an undeniable link between the positive effects the diet has and the presence of nuts and olive oil in it.
In a study, published by The New England Journal of Medicine, it was observed that adopting nuts and olive oil consumption with a combination of a Mediterranean diet as your primary way of eating had positive effects on the prevention of cardiovascular problems in participants pre-disposed to such illnesses.
Where and who?
The study took place in Spain, with randomly chosen participants (men – age 55 to 80 and women – age 60 to 80), that were in a danger of developing and suffering from cardiovascular problems, Type 2 diabetes or at least exhibited three of the health hazards such as smoking, hypertension, high levels of LDL Cholesterol or were obese or overweight.
Three types of diets were applied: A Mediterranean diet supplemented with virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts and a low-fat control diet.
What – Olive oil and Nuts?
A dosage of 1 liter of virgin olive oil per week was given to the participants of the first group and 30g (15 g of walnuts, 7.5 g of hazelnuts, and 7.5 g of almonds) of mixed nuts a day were given to the second one, to consume three times a week at the minimum.
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After a period of 4.8 years, the trial was ended. The conclusion was that in people predisposed to strokes and myocardial deceases for example – the Mediterranean diet supplemented with virgin oil and nuts, reduced the chances of occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. A whopping 30% of the participants that consumed the Mediterranean diet had reduced the risk of heart problems compared to the low-fat diet group. During the experiment itself, it was observed by the investigators that the two groups consuming olive oil and nuts had significantly lower levels of blood pressure as well.
But were those results to be transcribed to the Mediterranean diet, or would any kind of largely vegetarian-based diet have achieved the same results if olive oil and nuts were included? Maybe the power of this dietary regimen thrives exactly thanks to the inset of those two ingredients.
Rich in polyphenols, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat, including alpha-linolenic acid both the olive oil and the nuts are the perfect food to consume if you suffer from cardiovascular deceases. There are numerous studies on the positive effects of nuts. One published in BioMed Central shows that high intake of nuts, reduced cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, and infections.
The unsaturated fats, nuts, and olive oil contain have the ability to lower LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol. Furthermore, in walnuts specifically, we find the omega-3 fatty acid, responsible for preventing abnormal heart rhythm and blood cloths.
For more detailed information on what nuts do: