Mediterranean diet with olive oil enhances HDL function: study

A new research has suggests that a Mediterranean-style diet supplemented with virgin olive oil or mixed nuts helps a lot in enhancing the function of HDL cholesterol, which is informally called "good cholesterol".

HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins that are one of the five key groups of lipoproteins in the body. Lipoproteins can be described as complex particles composed of various proteins that transport all fat molecules around the body inside the water outside cells.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Montserrat Fitó of Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute of Barcelona and CIBEROBN Institute in Spain found in the study that in a subset of 296 patients with high risk of heart disease, cholesterol efflux capacity (CEC) that reverses cholesterol transport significantly increased at 1 year as compared with baseline in those who were advised to eat a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil (P=0.018) or mixed nuts (P=0.013) rather than a decreased-fat diet.

Sharing their findings, Dr. Fitó said, "For that reason, we say that especially when the Mediterranean diet is supplemented with virgin olive oil, the HDL quality and function is better."

The researchers noted that the differences in results between the Mediterranean-style and other diets were relatively small simply because the control diet was a healthy one. Some other researchers have also shown that antioxidant-rich foods like olive oil and berries enhance HDL function.

The researchers reported their findings in the most recent edition of the journal Circulation.