Start adding dark chocolate, coffee and olive oil to your daily diet to have a long and healthy life, two new research studies claim.
The dark chocolate and olive oil combined are especially good for heart health, while drinking coffee seems to be associated with longevity, and people who drink at least four cups a day are 64 per cent less likely to have a premature death.
Eating chocolate with olive oil is even better for your heart than an Italian red Panaia apple, which is famed for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers from the University of Pisa in Italy discovered when they carried out a simple test on 26 volunteers.
Each of the volunteers had at least three of four risk factors for heart disease—high blood pressure, they were smokers, they had a family history of heart disease or they had high cholesterol levels.
They were given 40 grams a day of one of two types of dark chocolate for 14 days, before switching to the other; one was enriched with extra virgin olive oil and the other with the Panaia apple.
Metabolic changes, cholesterol profile and blood pressure were monitored before, during and at the end of the trial.
The chocolate enriched with the oil "significantly increased" cells that help repair blood vessel damage, while reducing metabolic changes that are linked to heart disease, and far outperformed the benefits achieved by the apple-enriched chocolate.
In a separate study which monitored the health and lifestyles of around 22,500 middle-aged people, researchers discovered that coffee drinking seems to be linked to longevity.
During the 10 years the researchers monitored the group, 337 participants died—but far fewer of the deaths were among those who drank at least four cups of coffee a day. Overall, they had a 64 per cent lower risk of premature death compared to those who never, or rarely, drank coffee. There was a further decrease of 22 per cent for each two extra cups they drank a day.
The researchers from the Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain had factored out other possible reasons for longevity, such as the Mediterranean diet, other diets, age and gender.
The benefits of coffee seem to increase the older we get, the researchers found.
(Sources: Proceedings of the European Society of Cardiology congress)
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