Image for representation. (Photo: Daily Hunt)
NEW YORK: The Mediterranean diet, which is commonly referred to as a heart-healthy way of eating, has been linked to a number of potential health benefits, now researchers have found that olive oil in this diet may hold the key to improving lifespan and mitigating aging-related diseases.
Early studies on the diet suggested red wine was a major contributor to the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet because it contains a compound called resveratrol, which activated a certain pathway in cells known to increase lifespan and prevent aging-related diseases.
However, the study, published in the journal Molecular Cell, suggests that it is the fat in olive oil, another component of the Mediterranean diet, that is actually activating this pathway.
“We found that the way these fat works is it first has to get stored in microscopic things called lipid droplets, which is how our cells store fat. And then, when the fat is broken down during exercising or fasting, for example, is when the signaling and beneficial effects are realized,” said study researcher Doug Mashek from the University of Minnesota.
According to the researchers, merely consuming olive oil is not enough to elicit all of the health benefits.
The study suggested that when coupled with fasting, limiting caloric intake and exercising, the effects of consuming olive oil will be most pronounced.
(With inputs from agencies)