The Mediterranean diet is regularly ranked by health and wellness experts as the best diet for preventing health conditions like heart disease and increasing longevity. And according to researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one of the diet’s main ingredients may be the key to living longer. What is it? Olive oil.
Early studies by the researchers suggested that red wine was a major contributor to the health benefits of the diet because it contains a compound called resveratrol, which activated a certain pathway in cells known to increase lifespan and prevent aging-related diseases. But new lab findings recently published in Molecular Cell suggest that it is the fat in olive oil, another component of the Mediterranean diet, that is actually activating this pathway.
Researchers note that merely consuming olive oil is not enough to elicit all the health benefits, though. Their studies indicate that the effects of consuming olive oil will be most pronounced when coupled with fasting, limiting caloric intake and exercising.