High levels of olive oil and leafy green vegetables in a diet have been linked to lower incidence of heart problems in women, says a recent study from Italian researchers.
The research is the latest in a series of boosts for the idea of the Mediterranean diet, which is high in the "good" monounsaturated fats which may help people avoid cardiovascular problems as they age. Most of the fat content in the diet comes from sources like olive oil and nuts, with some chicken and fish added for good measure and very little red meat.
Dr. Domenico Palli, of Florence's Cancer Research and Prevention Institute, told Reuters that micronutrients like antioxidants or high potassium levels might be responsible for the seemingly powerful health effects of the vegetables and olive oil. However, other studies have suggested it could be the phenolic content of olive oil which is responsible for the heart-healthiness of the diet.
Regardless of how healthy or unhealthy a given fat is, it's important not to get too much of it, experts say. An excess of any type of fat can lead to weight gain and possible life insurance rate hikes.