We’re all aware of the long-term health benefits of olive oil, but a new study claims that olive oil can reverse heart failure “immediately.”
Researchers at the University of Illinois found that oleate, a healthy fat found in olive oil, can help a failing heart by pumping blood more efficiently and use body fat as fuel.
The study, published in the journal Circulation, discovered that oleate could rekindle the genes that produce enzymes to break down fat into an absorbable substance that can maintain the heart's muscle strength.
“These genes are often suppressed in failing hearts,” explains lead author Douglas Lewandowski. “The fact that we can restore beneficial gene expression, as well as more balanced fat metabolism, plus reduce toxic fat, just by supplying hearts with oleate is a very exciting finding.”
Cardiovascular failure, symptoms of which include shortness of breath, swelling of the feet, ankles, stomach and lower back, weight loss and fatigue, is commonly associated with drug and alcohol abuse, high blood pressure, or by the consequences of a heart attack.
At present there is no treatment to reverse this disease but a combination of a healthy diet, physical activity and prescription medicine can keep it under control.
Nutritionists have long maintained that foods such as avocado, salmon or nuts containing healthy fats, “gives more proof” that oleate has “a significantly positive effect on cardiac health,” according to Lewandowski.
Further evidence of olive oil's positive impact was observed when experts at the University of Illinois pumped oleate through the falling hearts of rats. "We saw an immediate improvement in how the hearts contracted and pumped blood,” says Lewandowski.
When the team did the same procedure with palmitate, a fat found in animal fats and dairy products, they noticed quite the opposite effect – diseased hearts worsened and more toxic fat was produced.