Mediterranean diets with olive oil improve blood flow

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Researchers believe the long-term health benefits observed after such a short intervention could be due to molecular changes associated with the Mediterranean diet. Traditional Mediterranean cuisine is based on olive oil, fruit, vegetables and salad, fish, legumes, wholegrain foods, wine and limited consumption of red meat.

Lead researcher Dr Markos Klonizakis, a Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Preserving a patient’s endothelial function as they get older is thought to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so these findings are very encouraging.

“Although exercise on its own can beneficial, other lifestyle factors such as nutrition play an important role as well.

“Considering the scientific evidence already out there that a Mediterranean diet offers health benefits, it made sense to examine how such a diet, when combined with exercise, could affect the small veins of our body due to their important role in our overall well-being, in the longer-term.”

The study focused on healthy people over the age of 50. Participants were originally assessed over an eight-week period. One group was encouraged to eat more vegetables, fruit, olive oil, tree nuts and fresh oily fish, as well as take up a moderate exercise regime, while the other just took up exercise alone.

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