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