Consuming a fat found in olive oil could help failing hearts pump blood around the body more effectively new research suggests.
Researchers from Chicago looked at how rodent hearts – both healthy and those with heart failure - reacted to being supplied with oleate – a type of monounsaturated fat found in olive oil – or palmitate – a type of fat found in butter and in the fat on meat.
Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes so damaged it cannot pump blood around the body as efficiently as it used to.
Scientists believe this could be because the damaged heart cells can no longer properly metabolise the fats they use for fuel for the heart muscle to contract and release meaning it becomes starved of energy.
Making positive changes to your diet can not only protect your heart against heart disease, but can help manage existing heart conditions as well
Findings from the research, published in Circulation, showed rodent hearts supplied with oleate were better able to breakdown fats into energy meaning their hearts pumped more efficiently.
Victoria Taylor, our Senior Dietitian, said: “This study serves as an important reminder that making positive changes to your diet can not only protect your heart against heart disease, but can help manage existing heart conditions as well.
"It is too soon to say for sure that the same effects would be seen in humans. In the meantime, the message remains the same. We must eat a balanced diet with saturated fats replaced with unsaturated fats, get plenty of fruit and vegetables and eat less salt.”