Did you know that in the U.S. alone, nearly 790,000 people have a heart attack and close to 795,000 have a stroke annually? That is a scary number, especially when you consider the fact that our population comprises nearly 40 million who are over the age of 65 and might be at a higher risk of heart ailments.
Because heart ailments are so prevalent around the world, researchers are constantly working to find medications and remedies that might reduce an individual’s risk for heart diseases. One such research found that olive oil and ample sleep may actually benefit heart health.
Olive Oil and Sleep for Heart Health
Scientists found that human blood contains a protein called apolipoprotein A-IV (ApoA-IV), the levels of which rise when we consume foods rich in unsaturated fats, like olive oil. This protein might hold the key to reducing or even preventing heart attacks and other conditions.
What Is Apolipoprotein A-IV (ApoA-IV)?
While some of the properties of ApoA-IV were already known, researchers at the St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, recently discovered the protein’s ability to inhibit platelets from clotting. Platelets are the tiny cells in the blood that promote clotting when there is bleeding.
The protein might also be able to reduce the impact of certain inflammatory conditions that could lead to clogged arteries. These clogged arteries can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
What Is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis, the condition characterized by the build-up of plaque in the arteries may begin at an early age and become faster as we age. It has been noted that plaque typically thickens in parts of the arteries that have been damaged, leading to the narrowing of the blood vessels, an increase in blood pressure and a higher risk of developing heart diseases.
Eventually, the plaque can explode and cause the platelets in the blood to cluster together into a clot, reducing the proper flow of blood. Depending on the artery that has been impacted, the clot may lead to a heart attack or stroke. Apart from the arteries, these clots can also impact the veins, for instance in conditions like deep vein thrombosis of the leg.
Coming back to the ApoA-IV, the scientists studying the protein found that it might be able to reduce the clotting of the platelets, thus reducing the development of blocks in the blood vessels. They also deduced that an increased amount of the protein in the blood might reduce the formation of plaques too.
How Does ApoA-IV Work?
Scientists already knew that the platelet activity in the blood is stimulated after a meal; what the new study showed was that the levels of ApoA-IV increased after a meal rich in unsaturated fats.
It was also found that the protein works at its peak when we are asleep and its lowest activity level is in the morning. These findings helped the scientists come to a conclusion that foods rich in unsaturated fats, like olive oil, and healthy sleep patterns are ideal conditions for ApoA-IV to thrive. This, in turn, could reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and related heart ailments.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil and Sleep
Olive oil comprises a large proportion of oleic acid, which may help reduce inflammation in the body, thus supporting cardiovascular health and other conditions.
Health benefits associated with olive oil include:
- Antibacterial properties to reduce the risk of ulcers and stomach cancer
- Antioxidants to support cellular health
- Anti-inflammatory properties to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease
Regular sleep can:
- Improve immunity
- Reduce stress
- Enhance mood
- Lower the risk of heart ailments and diabetes
- Support cognitive health
Based on this study and various others explaining the benefits of olive oil and healthy sleep patterns, it might be a good idea to try and incorporate more olive oil, especially extra-virgin oil into your cooking and get six to eight hours of shuteye to enjoy good health.
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PhD, C. P. (2018, September 07). Why does olive oil keep heart attack and stroke at bay? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323007.php
Leech, J. (2018, August 14). 11 Proven Benefits of Olive Oil. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-olive-oil