Adding olive oil to your diet - even just once a week - lowers your risk of suffering clogged-up arteries which can trigger heart attacks and strokes، a new study found.
It's long been known that the Mediterranean diet - of which olive oil is a key component - is associated with good heart health.
But now researchers have shown why and how.
Studying the blood of 63 obese، non-smoking adults، they found those olive oil seemed to protect blood platelets from dangerous 'activation' which can cause a build-up and blood clots.
The team at the NYU School of Medicine believe that، beyond containing plenty of antioxidants، it has something to do with the structure of olive oil's molecules. 'People who are obese are at increased risk of having a heart attack، stroke or other cardiovascular event، even if they don't have diabetes or other obesity-associated conditions،' lead author Dr Sean Heffron at New York University School of Medicine said.
'Our study suggests that choosing to eat olive oil may have the potential to help modify that risk، potentially lowering an obese person's threat of having a heart attack or stroke.'
Platelets are blood cell fragments that stick together and form clumps and clots when they are activated.
They contribute to the buildup of artery-clogging plaque، known as atherosclerosis، the condition which underlies most heart attacks and strokes.
The study involved asking 63 obese، nonsmoking، non-diabetic individuals with an average age of 32.2 and where morbidly obese with an average BMI of 44.1.
It found those who ate olive oil at least once a week had lower platelet activation than participants whose ate it less often، and that the lowest levels of platelet aggregation were observed among those who ate olive oil more frequently.
They did not see any of these beneficial effects from red meat، eggs، butter، or margarine.