Today’s Solutions: October 28, 2021

We’ve all heard that the Mediterranean diet—rich in olive oil and vegetables—is good for our hearts, and now researchers believe they’ve finally found the “secret ingredient” that gives this diet such a powerful effect on health and longevity.

When the unsaturated fat in olive oil meets the naturally occurring nitrates and nitrates that many Mediterranean vegetables are rich in (like tomatoes, eggplant, garlic and leafy greens), a special kind of molecule is produced: “nitro fatty acids.” Beneficial omega-6 fats are normally broken down in the body by an enzyme called epoxide hydrolase, but these nitro fatty acids block the action of this enzyme. As a result, the “good fats” stay in the blood longer, where they lower blood pressure.

Researchers from King’s College London and the University of California, Davis used genetically engineered mice to figure out how the biochemical process worked. But they think it’s very likely that a similar mechanism occurs in people, because the epoxide hydrolase enzyme is virtually identical between mice and humans. To put nitro fatty acids to work in your diet, eat as many veggies as possible, especially lettuce and other salad greens. Nuts and avocados can fill the same role as olive oil.

(Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1402965111 [link].)

Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Austria’s Klimaticket lets you to travel anywhere in the country for just €3 ...

Fifteen years after it was first proposed, Austria has finally officially introduced its Klimaticket, or ‘climate ticket,’ an annual ticket with unlimited access to all public transportation for the price of just or €3 ($3.50) ... Read More

Best bites and beverages to boost your bladder health

Here at The Optimist Daily, we talk a lot about what we should eat to support gut health and heart health, but that doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to what works best for our ... Read More

Unusual fruit byproduct makes tilapia fish healthier and stronger

Tilapia is a popular fish around the world, and now, researchers from Russia's RUDN University have discovered a way to make the fish more resilient─using a feed ingredient that would otherwise end up in landfills. ... Read More

Air 4 All hopes to make dignified air travel accessible for everyone

While many of us are craving new surroundings and landscapes, most would probably like to skip over the part where we are confined to the cramped space of an airline seat for hours and hours. ... Read More

This science-backed playlist is full of songs that will give you chills

We all have those special songs we go back to every now and then if we want to get a good dosage of “chills”—that powerful emotional response reflected by a pleasurable sensation of tingles, and ... Read More

AMC Theaters to offer open captioning showtimes at 100 US locations

Movie theater company AMC has announced plans to make their showings more inclusive with the addition of open captioning during select showings at over 100 US locations. "By adding open captions to the variety of ... Read More