Olive Oil and Chocolate
Dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil is associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile, according to research presented at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology.
“A healthy diet is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said study author Dr. Rossella Di Stefano, a cardiologist at the University of Pisa in Italy. “Fruits and vegetables exert their protective effects through vegetable polyphenols found in cocoa, olive oil and apples.
This study tested the association between consumption of bitter chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil and the progression of atherosclerosis in healthy subjects with cardiovascular risk factors.
The randomized crossover study included 26 volunteers (14 men, 12 women) with at least three cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, dyslipidemia, hypertension or family history of cardiovascular disease) who received 40 grams of bitter chocolate daily for 28 days. For 14 consecutive days, it contained 10% extra-virgin olive oil and for 14 consecutive days contained 2.5% of red apple of Panaia. Both types of chocolate were given in random order.
The progression of atherosclerosis was evaluated by metabolic changes (carnitine and hippurate levels), lipid profile, blood pressure and levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). EPCs are critical for vascular repair and maintenance of endothelial function.
The conclusions were very clear: the combination of black chocolate with extra-virgin olive oil gave much more significant results than the combination of black chocolate and red apple. In addition to the fact that olive oil has greatly reduced the risk of arteriosclerosis (the clogging of the veins leading to thrombosis and heart attacks), it has also caused a rise in good cholesterol and a reduction in blood pressure – all in a few days.
Scientists believe that these results are due to the increase in endothelial progenitor cells that are responsible for the repair and proper functioning of blood vessels. But this seems to me to be too scientific conversation here. What matters is that black chocolate mixed with extra-virgin olive oil is good for your health, reduces the risk of heart attacks and lowers blood pressure.