There are many factors that affect our health. This week’s Nutrition News looks at the latest research for staying healthy during lockdown and beyond.

Read in full here.

The relationship between olive oil and heart health

In support of previous Nutrition News articles that have touted the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, a recent article has come out that has reiterated the important relationship between olive oil and cardiovascular support.

This latest report, discussed by Healthline in this article, found a correlation between those who consumed half a tablespoon of olive oil per day and good heart health. The data that the report is based on dates back to 1990 and suggests that olive oil could have a far better effect on heart health than the consumption of animal-based fats.

Olive oil and olive leaf contain compounds known as polyphenols, such as hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein complexes and tyrosol, which are thought to have a protective effect from oxidative stress.

Speaking of the findings, Dr. Benjamin Hirsh, director of preventive cardiology at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, New York, said, “Olive oil is a simple way to replace unhealthy, saturated, and trans-fatty acids of animal fats with a source of omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol,” adding, “It has also been associated with improved vascular function, heart health, and survival.”

Obesity – UK compared to the rest Europe

With the number of deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the UK compared to the rest of Europe, many are asking the question, why?

One clear point of difference is the stark obesity rate in the UK when compared to the rest of the continent. Speaking of the issue, as reported here by Medscape, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “We certainly must have a care for the health of our population and we will be happier and fitter and more resistant to diseases like COVID if we can tackle obesity," adding, "it is hugely costly for the NHS."

When taking these comments into account alongside figures that show that the UK has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, it really is cause for concern. Obesity and poor diet make us more susceptible a whole host of health complications, putting additional strain on organs, which make combatting illnesses such as COVID-19 all the more difficult.

If the UK is to stand a better chance against such illnesses, it is clear that more care and attention should be paid to diet to ensure the population is securing the nutrients that are needed to stay healthy.

Can nutrition support health cognitive ageing?

With around 50 million people in the world suffering with dementia, huge amounts of research are currently ongoing, exploring the link between nutrition and cognitive health.

This article from the British Medical Journal covers several research papers that explore the cognitive support effects of a number of individual food bioactive components including B vitamins, antioxidant vitamins, selenium, vitamin D, medium chain triglycerides, and long chain omega-3 fatty acids. That being said, the article concludes that it is a healthy dietary pattern that is the most important for offering cognitive support rather than individual specific compounds. While further research is needed to draw conclusive findings on the specifics of dietary guidelines for combatting cognitive decline, the article authors note that there is clear evidence on the link between cardiometabolic health and cognitive health and that the dietary guidelines for cardiometabolic health are clear.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.