Health… comes with eating! Especially if you bring to the table a lot of extra virgin olive oil and try to follow the Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil and fish and low in red meat and saturated fats. The beneficial effects of Mediterranean diet and extra virgin olive oil have been demonstrated by two recent scientific studies, the first published by an Irish and Italian team on the journal Gut (Ghosh et al, Gut, 2020) and the second by the scientists of University of Minnesota in the journal Molecular cell (Najt et al, Mol Cell, 2020).
In the first study the scientists analyzed the habits and the health condition of 612 persons aged between 65 and 79. The sample was divided into two groups, the first group was asked to follow for a year the Mediterranean diet while the second their usual diet. After 12 months the scientists observed that in those who ate according to the Mediterranean diet, the good bacteria of microbiota, namely the gut bacterial flora, were increased. Moreover, linked to this, the scientists observed also an improvement of the brain functionality, of memory, more strength and quick movements and, a very important thing, also a reduction of the markers of inflammation. A condition of chronic inflammation, in the long run, weakens the immune system and increases the risk of illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular illnesses. Keeping at bay inflammation, instead, makes the body work properly, at every age. For what concerns the second study, it focused its attention on the benefits of extra virgin olive oil. Well, until now it was believed that the resveratrol of red wine, another main ingredient of Mediterranean diet, was able to activate the mechanism at the cellular level that counteracts the aging processes. On the contrary, the researchers of Minnesota University have understood that it is precisely extra virgin olive oil that activates this mechanism. In addition to this, if the Mediterranean diet is combined with physical activity there are also more benefits. Why? Because the fats of olive oil are stored in microstructures called lipid droplets, that is the mechanism by which the body stores the fats. Then, during physical activity, the fats are broken down and only now their beneficial action is released. The effect is that Sirt 1, a gene of our body that slows down the aging processes, is activated.