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Olive Oil May Improve Blood Vessel Function

Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart. Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque builds up within the walls of the arteries and causes them to stiffen. A recent four month study has found that olive oil may improve blood vessel function in people with atherosclerosis.

All of the participants in the study had atherosclerosis, meaning they had impaired blood vessel function. The researchers found that those participants with the lowest blood vessel function at the start of the study showed the most improvement following the olive oil supplementation.

During the study, half of the 82 participants consumed 1 oz of olive oil daily while the other half consumed 1 oz of olive oil supplemented with an antioxidant found in green tea that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.

At the conclusion of the study, both groups showed improved blood vessel function and lower inflammatory markers. There were no significant differences between the antioxidant supplemented group and the olive oil only group.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic and College of Medicine and Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche in Florence, Italy. Their results were published online ahead of print on August 2, 2012, in the European Journal of Nutrition.

Olive oil has been used in folk remedies for years and recent research suggests that it may help prevent colon cancer and reduce cholesterol. If you want to add more olive oil to your diet, it can be as simple as eating a spoonful daily. If eating olive oil by the spoonful doesn't appeal to you, consider substituting olive oil for butter in your daily diet: you can use it for cooking, put it on bread, or use it as a salad dressing.

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