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Olive Oil And The Study Of The Seven Countries

La Tienda

Olive oil is the basic ingredient of the Mediterranean diet. It decreases the frequency of heart incidents that may often result in death. This action is due to the reduction of arteriosclerosis, even if other unfavorable factors are present, like smoking, obesity, diabetes and alcohol.

The Study of the Seven Countries is a study in which 11,5oo people participated during the decade of 1950 and 1960. Residents from seven different countries were studied. Corfu and Crete (two islands in Greece), South Italy, Holland, United States, Japan and the Dalmatian Coast, depending on their diets and the development of various diseases, like heart and cancer.

The results were publicized in the mid 1980s and followed like this.

The comparative results show the Mediterranean countries that participated in the study (Corfu, Italy and Yugoslavia), had minimal death rates in comparison  to the northern countries. The United States and Japan led in cancer death rates.

Detailed analysis of this study’s results, show that populations with equivalent standards of living, polluted environment and stress, are significantly different in the frequency  of heart diseases and cancer. The only difference that separated them was their diet.

Ultimately with this evidence, the term “Mediterranean diet” was set, referring to the way of everyday dieting of the Mediterranean countries and particularly the main fat intake olive oil.

In Crete, the results are even more different then the rest of the Mediterranean. Heart disease and death rate are even lower, because of the use of extra virgin olive oil. This “Cretan paradox” led to a better investigation to the Cretan diet, in contradiction with the Mediterranean diet and the extraction of certain conclusions relative to its particular characteristics.

Finally we should mark that the transplant of the Cretan diet in populations that were dieting differently, drove in the normalization of their metabolism in a few weeks. The Cretan diet is different then the Mediterranean diet in the consumption of bread and alcohol (it is lower).

From the Study of the Seven Counties, has been proven that the Mediterranean diet and especially the Cretan diet, very rich in olive oil consumption, vegetables, fruits, legumes and less in meat and saturated fats, effects the arteriosclerosis. This diet has considerably minimized the frequency of heart incidents. Studies in Spain have also proven, that the consumption of olive oil stops the development of arteriosclerosis.

More studies from Ancel Keys, the master of the Study of the Seven Countries, showed that out of the 11,500 participants in the study, 2,280 died from different causes in time span of 15 years.

Two more Italian studies, the Intersalt (Jossa and Mancini in 1996) and the Study of the Nine Countries of Italy, prove that the consumption of olive oil and the intake of antioxidants, like vitamin E, which in the Mediterranean basin comes from olive oil, is responsible for the lower mortality.

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