The Cretan diet, compared to other diets, has the lowest incident of ischemic heart disease (IHD), (the most common heart disease and cause of heart attacks), due to its minimal content of saturated fatty acids, which are connected with low plasma cholesterol gatherings. Its main and concrete characteristic is the high content of olive oil.
A study was conducted where the participants were 18 healthy young men 20 to 28 years of age, with no history of ischemic heart disease (IHD), non smokers and non regular medication users.
The participants, by chance were assigned to consume diets of (A) olive oil, (B) sunflower oil, (C) rapeseed oil, for periods of 21 days, in one of these orders: ABC, ACB, BCA, BAC, CAB, CBA. Of the participants, 3 were by chance assigned to each of the diet combinations. The 3 diets were the same, except their content of virgin olive oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil.
The oils were blended into other foods and the experimental diet was formed of typical Danish food. The participants had to record how they felt, included any change in their health. Before, during and after the study, blood samples were taken.
The study proved that the blending olive oil into the diet for 3 weeks, the participants ended with low cholesterol concentration, than the sunflower oil or the rapeseed oil.
This is a suggestion that a diet, rich in olive oil, lowers the incident of thrombosis, which relates with the consumption of mono-unsaturated fatty acid foods and explains the fewer IHD incidents in the Mediterranean countries and particularly in Crete with high consumption of olive oil.
In many studies the results show the possitive effects of olive oil on the cholesterol levels of your blood. Because olives grow in very warm climates and have to be protected from the hot sun, have very high content of phenolic substances, which play a very important role in preventing and curing thrombosis and atherosclerosis.