Small proportion of dark chocolate with olive oil daily boosts heart health
Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 29 : If you want a healthy heart then try eating small proportions of dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil daily, suggests a recent study.According to researchers, Olive oil-enriched chocolate was associated with significantly increased high-density lipoprotein ("good") cholesterol and decreased blood pressure compared to baseline.
They also found that small daily portions of dark chocolate with added natural polyphenols from extra virgin olive oil were associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile.
Lead study author Dr Rossella Di Stefano from the University of Pisa, Italy said that a healthy diet is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Stefano added that fruits and vegetables exert their protective effects through plant polyphenols, which are found in cocoa, olive oil and apples.
They also found that the Italian Panaia red apple has very high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants.
The team tested the association between consumption of dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil or Panaia red apple (table 1) with atherosclerosis progression in healthy individuals with cardiovascular risk factors.
They included 26 volunteers (14 men, 12 women) with at least three cardiovascular risk factors - smoking, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, or family history of cardiovascular disease and received 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for 28 days.
For 14 consecutive days, it contained 10 percent extra virgin olive oil and for 14 consecutive days, it contained 2.5 percent Panaia red apple.
The two types of chocolates were given in random order.
Progression of atherosclerosis - cardiovascular disease - was assessed by metabolic changes (levels of carnitine and hippurate), lipid profile, blood pressure and levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs).
Urine and blood samples were collected at baseline and after the intervention.
After 28 days, they found that the chocolate enriched with olive oil was associated with significantly increased EPC levels and decreased carnitine and hippurate levels compared to both baseline and after consumption of apple-enriched chocolate.
There was a non-significant decrease in triglyceride levels with apple-enriched chocolate.
Our study suggests that extra virgin olive oil might be a good food additive to help preserve our 'repairing cells', the EPC.:
The research is presented at a meeting ESC Congress 2017.