According to a new study, it turns out that dark chocolate and olive oil, both healthy and delicious on their own, are actually better for your ticker when combined – because this sweet-and-savory twosome can decrease several risk factors for heart disease.
I know it sounds weird, but hear me out.
In the study out of Italy, a group of volunteers with at least three risk factors for cardiovascular disease – including smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, or a family history of the disease – ate 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily for a month.
For the first two weeks, scientists enriched the chocolate with extra virgin olive oil. In the second two weeks, they enriched it with an ancient European variety of red apples that’s reportedly also high in polyphenols.
By the end of the study, only the dark chocolate loaded with extra virgin olive oil had a significant impact on the participants’ cardiovascular risk factors.
The extra virgin olive oil-enriched chocolate lowered their blood pressure… increased their HDL “good” cholesterol… and even boosted the number of “endothelial progenitor cells” (EPCs), which are critical for repairing arteries damaged by the build-up of fats and other gunk.
Now, although I can’t deny the benefits of eating one little square of dark chocolate a day (especially if you love the flavor), but comparing apples to olives is about as useful as comparing apples and oranges.
Instead, this study was more about the heart -protection that the omega-3 fatty acids found in olive oil can provide. Adding those to almost anything would vastly improve your heart health!
In fact, earlier this year, another study – this one out of China – found that omega-3s (specifically, EPA and DHA, as found in fish oil supplements) can improve the function of EPCs that have stopped working properly.
So, I wouldn’t use these latest findings as an excuse to drizzle extra virgin olive oil over your favorite dark chocolate ice cream or to try out that recipe for olive oil chocolate cake. That much sugar will do more to hurt your heart than the polyphenols will do to help it!
Instead, drizzle EVOO over your favorite Paleo-friendly dish, and take a fish oil supplement that’s got both of the critical omega-3 fatty acids that protect your heart, EPA and DHA.
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil Improves Heart Health, newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/dark-chocolate-olive-oil-cardiovascular-heart-health/2017/08/29/id/810416/
Dark chocolate with olive oil associated with improved cardiovascular risk profile, escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Dark-chocolate-with-olive-oil-associated-with-improved-cardiovascular-risk-profile
N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids alleviate high glucose-mediated dysfunction of endothelial progenitor cells and prevent ischemic injuries both in vitro and in vivo, sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286316301863