Olive oil may ward off blood clots

Eating foods prepared with virgin olive oil may help prevent harmful blood clots in people with high cholesterol.

Atherosclerosis is a disease of blood vessels characterised by deposition of fat on the inside of the walls of large to medium-sized arteries making them hard and brittle and prone to blockage, BBC reported.

In the early stages of atherosclerosis, the balance between clot-promoting and clot-dissolving factors in the blood vessels shifts in favour of clot formation and having high levels of fat in the blood can worsen this imbalance.

A high concentration of phenols in olive oil can partly reverse this phenomenon. But there have been only few studies performed in human beings regarding olive oil’s effect on the blood, which have yielded inconsistent results. This could be due to variations in phenol content.

To better understand the effects of olive oil, researchers from the Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba studied 21 people with high cholesterol. They were made to eat two different breakfasts.

For one week, they consumed either white bread with virgin olive oil containing 400 parts per million phenols, or white bread with olive oil from which much of the phenols had been extracted, leaving only 80 parts per million.

Then the patients were switched to the opposite meal. Blood lipid profile and clotting factors (factor VII, activated factor VII and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1) were measured at baseline and two hours after meal.

Two hours after the high-phenol meal, the patients had lower concentrations of factor VII antigen, which promotes blood clotting, as compared with the low-phenol group. The high-phenol group also experienced a greater drop in the activity of another clotting promoter, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1.

Thus, virgin olive oil has many health benefits including lesser chances of clot formation in blood vessels and atherosclerosis.

Source: The News, 13/7/2008

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