A research carried out by the Lipids and Arteriosclerosis Unit of the Reina Sofía University Hospital in Córdoba, has detected that there is an improvement in the arterial function of the elderly after taking a diet that includes olive oil and other foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, compared to other diets low in fat or rich in saturated fats.
This work, published in the February issue of American Journal Clinical Nutrition, has analyzed the influence of nutrition on the natural aging process of the circulatory system of the elderly, and has verified that the Mediterranean diet It has beneficial effects on the arterial function of this sector of the population.
The study was attended by twenty patients (ten men and ten women), who did not have serious health problems and were over 65 years of age. The researchers took into account the state of their arteries at the beginning of the study because this factor indicates the possibilities of developing cardiovascular disorders and thrombosis later on. Thus, they checked how the endothelium was, that it covers the inner wall of the arteries and is very important for an adequate blood circulation, and they evaluated other aspects related to the deterioration produced by aging and cellular oxidation.
During a period of four weeks, the volunteers followed three different diets: one of the Mediterranean type, in which foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids predominated, such as olive oil; another in which saturated fatty acids abounded; and another high in carbohydrates and low in fat.
Cardiovascular protection of the Mediterranean diet
The data obtained with the study reveal that the consumption of typical foods of the Mediterranean diet reduces the deterioration of the endothelium that is associated with aging, and stimulates its cellular regeneration, which improves the function of the arteries.
Javier Delgado, one of the authors of the work, explained that, after following the Mediterranean diet, the volunteers had lower levels of markers of oxidation and aging, and the capacity for dilatation of the endothelium also improved in them. Delgado adds that the beneficial effects of this diet that have been observed ensure greater protection against future cardiovascular events.
It is the first time that a research is able to demonstrate the link between this type of diet and the state of the circulatory system in older people, and a new project has been launched with the aim of studying the same parameters on a large scale, with a greater number of participants.