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Lipoproteins break down into even smaller components, however. Apolipoprotein (apo) B is a component of LDL cholesterol, and apo A-1 makes up a portion of HDL cholesterol. High levels of apo B are associated with an increased heart disease risk, while higher apo A-1 levels seem to be protective. Recent evidence suggests that these lipoproteins and their ratios in the bloodstream may be more useful tools for predicting heart disease and stroke risk than merely looking at LDL and HDL cholesterol levels.
Both Mediterranean diets had positive effects on LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. Compared with the low-fat diet group, the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group had significantly lower apo B levels, higher apo A-1 levels, and lower apoB/apoA-1 ratios, suggesting a decreased heart disease risk in this group. About 8% of men in this group went from being in the “high risk for heart attack” category to “low risk.” Similarly, about 17% of women in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group went from “high” to “low” heart attack risk categories.
“Data from this study provide further evidence to recommend a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil as a useful tool for controlling heart disease, particularly in individuals at high risk,” said lead study author, Rosa Sola of the Human Nutrition Department at the School of Medicine, University Rovira i Virgili, Spain.
The Mediterranean diet includes