Dark chocolate with olive oil associated with improved cardiovascular risk profile

Jan 10, 2018 05:49 PM EST | By Staff Reporter

Close
Dark chocolate with olive oil associated with improved cardiovascular risk profile
Dark chocolate with olive oil associated with improved cardiovascular risk profile

Dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil is associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile, according to research presented.

"A healthy diet is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," said lead author Dr Rossella Di Stefano, a cardiologist at the University of Pisa, Italy. "Fruits and vegetables exert their protective effects through plant polyphenols, which are found in cocoa, olive oil, and apples. Research has found that the Italian Panaia red apple has very high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants."

This study 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.

The randomised crossover study included 26 volunteers (14 men, 12 women) with at least three cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, or family history of cardiovascular disease) who received 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for 28 days. For 14 consecutive days it contained 10% extra virgin olive oil and for 14 consecutive days it contained 2.5% Panaia red apple. The two types of chocolate were given in random order.

Progression of atherosclerosis was assessed by metabolic changes (levels of carnitine and hippurate), lipid profile, blood pressure and levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). EPCs are critical for vascular repair and maintenance of endothelial function.

Urine and blood samples were collected at baseline and after the intervention. Urine samples were analysed by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for endogenous metabolites. Circulating EPC levels were assessed with flow cytometry. Smoking status, body mass index, blood pressure, glycaemia and lipid profile were also monitored.

After 28 days, the researchers 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. Olive oil-enriched chocolate was associated with significantly increased high-density lipoprotein ("good") cholesterol and decreased blood pressure compared to baseline. There was a non-significant decrease in triglyceride levels with apple-enriched chocolate.

Dr Di Stefano said: "We found that small daily portions of dark chocolate with added natural polyphenols from extra virgin olive oil was associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile. Our study suggests that extra virgin olive oil might be a good food additive to help preserve our 'repairing cells', the EPC."

© 2018 Food World News. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Get the Most Popular Food Stories in a Weekly Newsletter
Food Biz
How Can You Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins?

How Can You Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins?

There are so many ways we can experience exposure to harmful poisons, and in many cases, we may not realize it's happening. From household cleaners and similar products to children's toys, there are often toxins and poisonous products and ingredients lurking in even the most unsuspecting of places.

Top 4 reasons why more and more athletes are turning vegan

Top 4 Reasons Why More and More Athletes are Turning Vegan

All pro level athletes know about the dedication needed to not just accomplish their goals, but to achieve even bigger targets in their lives. It's also a commonly known fact that fitness and exercise alone cannot get them there. Putting the right food into their bodies is equally important.

Five Vital Asian-Foods that you should must try

Five Vital Asian-Foods that you should must try

Asian nourishment all in all is substantially more sound than Western cooking. With the absence of dairy fat and added substances, alongside an emphasis on zingy season and crisp fixings, it's anything but difficult to discover solid alternatives on any Asian-propelled menu.

Food Tech
TOP WEDDING FOOD TRENDS FOR 2020

Top Wedding Food Trends For 2020

Tired of the conventional three-course meals at wedding receptions? Want something different? Give the menu a twist with our trendy wedding food ideas.

Famous Ports in Scotland

Famous Ports in Scotland

The United Kingdom, which is considered one of the most interesting places in the world. Mainly due to the versatility of its existence and the Union of the countries involved in the empire.

Night Markets in Asia

Night Markets in Asia

Traveling to new cities is always an exciting adventure. One of the best ways to see a city and try local food is by visiting famous night markets. Night markets are always bustling and full of locals and foreigners trying the delights.

Real Time Analytics