Mediterranean Diet and Breast Cancer

This post reports the results of the first randomized trial finding an effect of a long-term dietary intervention on breast cancer incidence. The results suggest a beneficial effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil in the primary prevention of breast cancer. These results come from a secondary analysis of a previous trial and are based on few incident cases and, therefore, need to be confirmed in longer-term and larger studies.

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A weight-loss Mediterranean diet/lifestyle intervention improves inflammatory and oxidative stress markers of patients with obstructive sleep apnea

Inflammation and oxidative stress are implicated in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) pathophysiology. We aimed at exploring whether the combination of a weight-loss Mediterranean diet/lifestyle intervention with OSA standard care, i.e., continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) prescription, can lead to greater improvements in inflammation and oxidative stress, compared to standard care alone. This was a randomized controlled clinical trial in 187 adult, overweight patients with moderate-to-severe OSA. Participants were randomized to a standard care (SCG, n = 65), a Mediterranean diet (MDG, n = 62) or a Mediterranean lifestyle group (MLG, n = 60). All groups received OSA standard care. Intervention arms participated in a 6-month behavioral weight-loss intervention based on the Mediterranean diet, while the MLG also received counselling on physical activity and sleep habits. A weight-loss Mediterranean diet/lifestyle intervention on top of CPAP has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits in OSA.

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Olive mill wastewater as a functional resource of bioactive compounds for Agro-Food Industries

Olive oil production represents an agro-industrial activity of vital economic importance for many Mediterranean countries. However, it is associated with the generation of a huge amount of by-products, both in solid and liquid forms, mainly constituted by olive mill wastewater, olive pomace, wood, leaves, and stones. Although for many years olive by-products have only been considered as a relevant environmental issue, in the last decades, numerous studies have deeply described their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, anticancer, anti-hyperglycemic activities. Therefore, the increasing interest in natural bioactive compounds represents a new challenge for olive mills. Studies have focused on optimizing methods to extract phenols from olive oil by-products for pharmaceutical or cosmetic applications and attempts have been made to describe microorganisms and metabolic activity involved in the treatment of such complex and variable by-products. However, few studies have investigated olive oil by-products in order to produce added-value ingredients and/or preservatives for food industries. This post is based in a review which provides an overview of the prospective of liquid olive oil by-products as a source of high nutritional value compounds to produce new functional additives or ingredients and to explore potential and future research opportunities.

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The Mediterranean diet and physical activity: better together than apart for the prevention of premature mortality

Diet and physical activity (PA) have been studied extensively in epidemiology as single or combined lifestyle factors; however, their interaction has not been studied thoroughly. Studying potential synergisms between lifestyle components with a comprehensive interaction analysis, including additive measures of interaction, provides key insights into the nature of their joint effect and helps target interventions more effectively. First, a comprehensive review was conducted to assess the potential research gap regarding reported interaction analyses conducted in studies assessing the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) in combination with PA on all-cause mortality. Thereafter, we prospectively assessed the joint association of the MedDiet with PA on all-cause mortality in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) cohort, followed by both multiplicative and additive interaction analyses. Studying interactions between lifestyle factors, such as the MedDiet and PA, is particularly relevant given the current research gaps in studying the complexities of combined aspects of lifestyle in comparison with isolated behaviours. Authors findings underline the important public health message of adhering to both the MedDiet and PA for the prevention of premature mortality.

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Influence of low temperature and cultivar on mechanical extraction of high quality virgin olive oil

The malaxation step, one of the most important phases of the virgin olive oil (VOO) mechanical extraction process involved in the development of the main quality characteristics of the final product, was carried out at a low temperature (18 °C). The rapid control of malaxer temperature was handled with the same chiller as that of the heat exchanger used in a semi-industrial extraction plant. Low temperature was used during the full olive paste kneading process and also for half of this process, which showed that there was a significant impact on the phenolic and volatile contents of VOO. Trials were conducted on three different cultivars (Canino, Moraiolo and Peranzana), and their phenolic and volatile concentrations showed different quantitative and qualitative effects due to the prolonged use of low temperature after the crushing phase, as a function of the different genetic origins of the olives. The process of phenolic compound solubilization into the oily phase was negatively influenced by the use of low temperature during the entire malaxation period for all the cultivars, whereas the volatile fraction showed an improvement in VOO flavor mainly due to the oil extracted from Canino olives.

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A new by-product from olive pomace extraction process

At present the olive oil industry produces large amounts of secondary products once considered waste or by-products. In this post, the authors present a new interesting olive by-product named “dried destoned virgin olive pomace” (DDVOP), produced by the pomace oil industry. The production of DDVOP is possible thanks to the use of a new system that differs from the traditional ones by having the dryer set at a lower temperature value, 350 °C instead of 550 °C, and by avoiding the solvent extraction phase. In order to evaluate if DDVOP may be suitable as a new innovative feeding integrator for animal feed, its chemical characteristics were investigated. Results demonstrated that DDVOP is a good source of raw protein and precious fiber; that it is consistent in total phenols (6156 mg/kg); rich in oleic (72.29%), linoleic (8.37%) acids and tocopherols (8.80 mg/kg). A feeding trial was, therefore, carried out on sheep with the scope of investigating the influence of the diet on the quality of milk obtained from sheep fed with DDVOP-enriched feed. The resulting milk was enriched in polyunsaturated (0.21%) and unsaturated (2.42%) fatty acids; and had increased levels of phenols (10.35 mg/kg) and tocopherols (1.03 mg/kg).

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Protein suppresses both bitterness and oleocanthal-elicited pungency of extra virgin olive oil

The Mediterranean diet, considered one of the healthiest in the world, is characterized in part by the major source of its fat, which is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Among the health benefits of consuming EVOOs is the presence of phenolic compounds, which have been shown to lower the incidence of coronary heart disease and are suspected of providing many other health benefits. These phenolic compounds also contribute to the flavor of EVOO, adding both specific pungency in the throat and bitter notes that are valued by connoisseurs but reported to be unpleasant by naïve consumers. Here, we demonstrate that some food-derived proteins, specifically from egg yolks and whey, when added to pungent and bitter EVOOs, reduce or even eliminate both the throat pungency and bitterness. The sensory loss is proportional to the food protein additions. Thus, when used in various foods recipes (e.g. mayonnaise), pungent and bitter EVOOs may lose their pungent and bitter characteristics thereby rendering them more palatable to many consumers. This sensory reduction might also indicate interaction between the proteins and the phenolic compounds, which, if confirmed, would raise the question of whether the bioactivities of EVOO phenolics remain unchanged when consumed with and without protein-containing foods.

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Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet in a Portuguese Immigrant Community in the Central Valley of California

The Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) is a healthy eating pattern associated with a better quality of life among older adults and reduced risk of non-communicable diseases. Little is known about the MedDiet in immigrant communities from countries in which the MedDiet is a settled cultural heritage. In this work authors examined MedDiet adherence and perceived knowledge, benefits, and barriers to the MedDiet in a Portuguese immigrant community in Turlock, California. Participants in Turlock had greater MedDiet adherence despite lower education attainment. Furthermore, the perceived benefits of the MedDiet were key factors in MedDiet perception and adherence in a Portuguese immigrant community.

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