Dark chocolate with olive oil associated with improved cardiovascular risk profile
Jan 10, 2018 05:49 PM EST | By Staff Reporter
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."
Soups are a classic choice for warming up on a cold winter's night. We don't often appreciate its value as summer fare, though. However, there's actually some fantastic soups perfect for the lighter, warmer season.
Most people love an order of fries, but how they enjoy those fries does indeed vary. Whether skinny or thick, spicy or curly or covered in truffle salt or a mix of herbs, it's a sure hit at any dinner table. Even the most classic of fun favorites though can be improved upon and some spots around the country are doing exciting things with their fries!
Rosé wine is made in almost every region in the world, from many different grape varieties. And rose-colored wine is produced in a sweet, dry, sparkling, and even fortified style. Yet the classic style of dry rosé wine from Provence sets the trend that many other wine-producing regions around the world want to emulate.
Dominique Ansel moved from Paris to New York City to work at Daniel Boulud's French flagship Daniel as the executive pastry chef, a position he held for 6 years. Fast forward 15 years later, and Ansel has become a household name after the invention of a certain croissant-donut hybrid, and his namesake bakery has expanded beyond SoHo to include branches around the world.
As if you ever really need an excuse to order a piña colada, today is National Piña Colada Day, so go ahead and order that creamy, sweet, cocktail-meets-dessert libation that is best served on a sunny, tropical beach somewhere exotic.
The cold brisk wind whips through the streets on an early spring evening in Prague. As temperatures hover around freezing, only one dish warms the soul this evening. Upon opening the door to Krčma the smell of comfort greets us like warm blanket-braised meat, baking spices, simmering herbs, and fried potatoes.