April 13, 2020

A healthy heart

Healthy mind and body

In the mid-twentieth century, North American researchers realised that inhabitants of Mediterranean countries lived longer than other people. They concluded that much of the secret lay in their diet and, out of all the ingredients, virgin olive oil played a key role. This triggered widespread interest in the Mediterranean diet.

And subsequent studies have confirmed that finding. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that there is reliable evidence to advocate the consumption of oleic acid,a major component of olive oil, in an attempt to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Olive oil and cardiovascular disease

A study carried out among people from the Mediterranean Basin with high cardiovascular risk showed that the total consumption of olive oil was linked to a significantly reduced risk of major heart attacks and cardiovascular mortality. What’s more, if the oil was extra virgin, the reduction in the risk of cardiovascular problems was even greater.

Meanwhile, the phenols contained in olive oil have been shown to benefit the heart because they have anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties.

Heart disease in dogs

Heart disease is a common problem in dogs and, as with humans, its cause can be found in various underlying diseases.

In many cases, diet is a key part of medical therapy for treating different diseases, in this case heart disease. And when it comes to a dog’s diet, the owner plays a paramount role. Research shows that proper nutrition can scale down the progression of heart disease, minimise the amount of drugs needed and enhance the pet’s quality of life.

Essential nutrients

Omega fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids boost appetite and slow down the loss of muscle mass in dogs with heart failure. What’s more, they can prevent the onset of an irregular heartbeat and improve general health in animals with heart disease, so they should be seen as an essential nutrient to keep control of heart function in sick dogs.

Fatty acids are also a vital part of cell membranes and blood vessels, so their presence in the diet improves the situation in the event of high blood pressure.

The cardioprotective properties of Omega-3 fatty acids are well defined: they help reduce triglycerides and the proportion of dense and small LDL cholesterol particles, which are the most common cause of atherosclerosis. They also have antithrombotic, antiarrhythmic and anti-inflammatory properties that definitely help prevent cardiovascular disease.


Free radicals may go up as heart disease progresses. These molecules increase the inflammatory response and, therefore, levels of pain. Vitamin E has been shown to have a positive antioxidant effect in animals with heart disease by inhibiting free radical damage to the muscular layer of the heart. It also prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins and fosters the normal dilation of the coronary arteries. Vitamin E also plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells, helps dilate blood vessels and prevents blood from clotting inside them. Extra virgin olive oil is a natural source of vitamin E.

Virgin olive oil has the right balance of fatty acids and vitamin E, so dogs – whether or not they’re prone to heart disease – will clearly benefit from foods with it in their formulation. It’s a key component in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.


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