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Olive Oil May Improve Blood Vessel Function

Posted Dec 11 2012 8:00am

A new study by U.S. and Italian researchers shows that adding just two tablespoons of olive oil each day can improve blood vessel function. Researchers from the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases of Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and the Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche of Florence examined whether the addition of olive oil to the diet would affect the function of the endothelium. For the study, patients with early atherosclerosis completed the 4-month double-blind, randomized trial.

The original aim of the study was to compare the effect of a daily intake of 30 ml of simple olive oil, with 30 ml of EGCG (a type of antioxidant) supplemented olive oil, on endothelial function. After four months, both groups had positive results, proving that the addition of a small amount of olive oil to the diet appears to improve endothelial function. The endothelium is a group of cells that line the interior of blood vessels. When these cells are not functioning properly (endothelial dysfunction), it may lead to atherosclerosis-hardening of the arteries.

Researchers noted that supplementation with olive oil seems reasonably easy and relatively cheap dietary measure to improve endothelial function and perhaps alter the progression of atherosclerotic disease.

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