Dark Chocolate with Extra Virgin Olive Oil reduces the risk of Cardiovascular Disease
A new study has found that small daily portions of dark chocolate with added Extra Virgin Olive Oil was associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile, suggesting that Extra Virgin Olive Oil might be a good food additive to help preserve human ‘repairing cells’ – EPC.
The study, presented at the ESC Congress in Barcelona by cardiologist, Rossella Di Stefano, compared the effects of dark chocolate supplemented with Italian Panaia red apple versus dark chocolate with Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the hardening of the arteries in healthy volunteers who had cardiovascular risk factors.
The results showed that the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and chocolate combination was more effective in improving cardiovascular risk than the red apple combination.
The Extra Virgin Olive Oil dark chocolate boosted ‘good’ cholesterol levels, lowered high blood pressure and significantly raised endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) levels – vital for blood vessel function and repair.
During the 28-day trial, volunteers were given a daily 40-gram sample of dark chocolate. For 14 consecutive days the chocolate was enriched with 10% Extra Virgin Olive Oil and on the other 14 days, it contained 2.5% Panaia red apple.
The study was carried out on volunteers made up of 14 men and 12 women, all of whom had at least three cardiovascular risk factors, ranging from from smoking, dyslipidemia (an abnormal amount of lipids in the blood), high blood pressure or a family history of cardiovascular disease.
At the trial’s end, the researchers concluded that the Extra Virgin Olive Oil enriched chocolate had substantially increased EPC levels and high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) while lowering blood pressure in all volunteers.
The subjects also showed reduced signs of hardening artery(atherosclerosis) progression.