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Here’s How Olive Oil Can Help Keep Heart Attack and Stroke at Bay

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One of the biggest ways to prevent major health issues lies in our diet and the nutritional value of what we consume — the better we eat, the more our body benefits. And for those of you looking to improve your heart and cardiovascular health, we have excellent news to share about olive oil.

Within your blood is a protein called Apolipoprotein A-IV, or ApoA-IV for short, that increases almost immediately after eating meals that contain unsaturated fats like olive oil. In a new study, published in Nature Communications, research suggests that higher levels of ApoA-IV in the blood help reduce inflammation associated with heart attack and stroke risk.

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Dr. Heyu Ni, the principal investigator of this study explains: “Higher levels of ApoA-IV can slow down plaque build-up in blood vessels, known as atherosclerosis.”

How ApoA-IV Protects from Cardiovascular Trouble

Both heart attack and stroke are considered “thrombotic disorders”, and are the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide.

Simply put, thrombosis occurs when tiny blood cells called platelets clump together, or aggregate, and block blood flow. When a blood vessel is blocked in the heart or brain, it can trigger a heart attack or stroke.

While on the other hand, you don’t want to stop platelet aggregation altogether. It is a process that’s absolutely necessary to stop bleeding in damaged vessels and this is where ApoA-IV can play a crucial role.

Dr. Ni and his team found that ApoA-IV can decrease platelet aggregation but, at the same time, change its shape to accommodate increased blood flow, effectively protecting blood vessels from blockages.

Dr. Ni stated: “This is the first study to link ApoA-IV with platelets and thrombosis. With this work, we have also explained why higher levels of ApoA-IV can slow down plaque build-up in blood vessels, known as atherosclerosis because this process is also related to platelet function and platelet-mediated inflammation.”

Buying (and Using!) the Best Olive Oil for Your Cardiovascular Health

Previous studies have shown that olive oil consumption, specifically the extra-virgin variety, is associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and mortality in individuals who are a high cardiovascular risk.

This antioxidant-rich oil is also a staple among people who enjoy a Mediterranean style diet and it is very easy to add it to your regular meals.

You can mix it with a little balsamic vinegar to use as a salad dressing. Blend it with garlic, rosemary, and other spices to drizzle over veggies or even, toss it with a blend of your favorite seasonings to create delicious marinades for meat, fish, and poultry.

Just make sure you are using an organic, high-quality extra virgin olive oil that comes in a dark tinted glass bottle or tin. (Clear bottles expose it to light, which will destroy its flavor.)

Sources:

  1. How olive oil and sleep could stave off heart attacks and strokes: New study examines plasma protein’s role. News Release. St. Michael’s Hospital. Sept 2018.
  2. Xu XR, et al. Apolipoprotein A-IV binds αIIbβ3 integrin and inhibits thrombosis. Nat Commun. 2018 Sep 6;9(1):3608.
  3. Guasch-Ferré M, et al. Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study. BMC Med. 2014; 12: 78.

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