recipes with olive oil

Olive Oil + Leafy Vegetable Recipes Cut Heart Disease Risk Nearly in Half

For a double dose of heart protection, pair olive oil with leafy vegetables in our delicious recipes, such as Escarole Salad with Parmesan, Italian Chard Soup, or Spinach Pesto Penne.

By Amy Ahlberg

Olive Oil + Leafy Vegetable Recipes Cut Heart Disease Risk Nearly in Half

This satisfying spinach, feta, and olive combo is good for your heart as well as your taste buds.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—If you need further motivation to follow the so-called Mediterranean diet, consider some new, amazing research findings on two of the diet’s staples: leafy green vegetables and olive oil. In the study on 30,000 women, researchers found that women who consumed at least one serving of leafy vegetables a day were more than 40 percent less likely to get heart disease over an eight-year period, compared to women who ate two or fewer portions a week. For its part, olive oil provided equally strong heart protection among women who consumed at least three tablespoons of it per day. All in all, these are some good reasons to include some recipes with olive oil and greens in your meal plan.

Though the exact mechanisms behind this protection aren’t known, researchers believe that antioxidants in both olive oil and leafy greens, along with the folate and potassium in the greens, play a role.

The study authors don’t stipulate that the greens and olive oil need to be eaten together to engender these benefits, but other evidence suggests that recipes with olive oil and leafy greens may offer enhanced health-promoting powers. For example, one study found that people who ate salads with dressings that contained fat (such as olive oil) absorbed more nutrients from the salad than those who ate fat-free dressing. Even reduced-fat salad dressing did better at boosting nutrient absorption than fat-free versions. Given all this, it’s clear that including healthy fats like olive oil is a great way to prepare greens, whether you’re tossing a crisp table salad or sautéing Swiss chard or spinach.

Filed Under: RECIPES

Published on: January 20, 2011

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Not just spinach and chard

Nice article but I think a few kale, cabbage, mustard, watercress, and other greens examples would be beneficial. Spinach and chard, while good enough in the diet, are over-relied on for greens and have calcium blocking effects. I'd think foods outside the Chenopodium genus should make up the larger part of the greens eaten and so should be mentioned with more emphasis. Too many people eat spinach as their only cooked green with the occasional salad, often containing raw spinach, thrown in. Also, I think the true Mediterranean Diet includes lots of wild greens.


This is for omnivores only :D


With dinner most nights I lightly saute dark greens such as spinach or kale in a T of olive oil. I often throw in some sliced mushrooms for added vitamin D. It is delicious! I've always loved my veggies, but it's amazing to me since moving toward a healthier diet how much BETTER fresh veggies taste even than frozen ones! And don't even mention canned--ugh! LOL

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