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You can make extra virgin olive oil part of a (Mediterranean) dietary pattern to improve your health acutely and reduce your risk of severe coronavirus infection.

- David Katz, Yale University

'Olive oil is the key to the Mediterranean diet'

Following the Mediterranean diet is one of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular diseases. However, unlike previous generations, the custom of following that style of eating is on the decline. Olive Oil is one of the diet's key elements and that consumption of four to five tablespoons of raw extra virgin olive oil per day not only wards off heart disease, but also cognitive impairment and depression.

The appearance of acute cardiovascular complications, such as heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac death in people with high cardiovascular risk. Although this information has already been noted in other studies, Accordingly, going forward, scientific associations and institutions are expected to recommend the Mediterranean diet to prevent heart disease.

How important are opinion leaders in raising awareness among consumers about the effects of the Mediterranean diet on health?

Mediterranean diet is a very useful tool in preventing cardiovascular disease.

Currently, consumers want as much information as possible about the food they buy and eat. There is a growing concern for health and the role that food plays in preserving it. As scientists, we must communicate the results of our studies to society using every channel at our disposal. That will help improve the population's health, which will reduce the rate of illness and, consequently, healthcare spending, which is currently a very worrying issue. This will create a link between consumer interest and our obligations. Together we will achieve the proposed objective: to improve the health of many people.

The Seven Countries Study demonstrated that low rates of heart disease can occur both with a low and a high intake of fat, depending on its nature and the dietary habits of the participants.

This revelation led to the formal definition of the Mediterranean diet in 1980 after the first results of the study were published by Harvard University.

On the fortieth anniversary of the publications of these results, experts from various fields spoke with Olive Oil Times about the characteristics of the diet and its future.

Markos Klonizakis, a clinical physiologist at Sheffield Hallam University, in England, said one of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that there are many variations, making it adaptable across cultures.

“My team tried to apply a MedDiet closer to the Greek type, containing fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, olive oil and more,” Klonizakis said. “Our research has repeatedly shown that the MedDiet can act defensively, providing short-term and longer-term benefits, either on its own or in conjunction with mild exercise.”
”Recently, we found that a Mediterranean-style eating pattern can quickly lessen the impact of Type 2 diabetes on microvessels, but more time is needed to ease the impact of aging on people,”

Klonizakis argued that the eating preferences of people can be shaped by many factors and the current pandemic may be one of them.

“Unhealthy food is easier to prepare. Maybe the coronavirus pandemic is a chance for us to start eating better. Of course, eating patterns are also a matter of trend, for example, the vegan regime has many adherents even though its benefits are not widely established, but nutritional tradition usually endures through time.”

How much extra virgin olive oil should we eat?

The study recommended that participants in the group eating a Mediterranean diet consume 50 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil per day, preferably raw. That gave rise to our recommendation of eating four to five tablespoons of raw extra-virgin olive oil on a daily basis.

The most recent PREDIMED study addresses diabetes prevention through the Mediterranean diet. How does olive oil affect this disease?

It's a fundamental component of the Mediterranean diet, and through the study we have shown that extra virgin olive oil is a basic food in preventing not only cardiovascular illness, but also cognitive decline and depression.