Nitro what? I expect most of you are thinking, basically we are talking about an effect of eating a “Mediterranean diet”.
We have all heard that eating a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fish and salad are good for us, or more precisely, people in the Mediterranean who consume such diets seem to be quite healthy. But what is it about the diet that makes people more healthy? That is a question that researchers have been trying to answer for a while now.
The latest bit of research to be published on the matter is that of Charles et al. to be published in the journal PNAS. They have found nitro fatty acids, produced when unsaturated fats from sources such as olive oil react with vegetables rich in nitrites and nitrates lower blood pressure.
Basically the nitro fatty acids react with an enzyme in the body called epoxide hydrolase inhibiting its activity and causing a lowering of blood pressure. The researchers tested this by producing mice that were resistant to the nitro fatty acid inhibition of hydrolase and compared these to normal mice. The altered mice had high blood pressure while the control mice did not.
So next time you are considering a salad, perhaps you should bin that readymade sugar laden dressing and reach for the olive oil and lemon juice instead. Your heart may thank you for it.