by Alison McCook, Retuers
Posted: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 3:53PM EST
It's no secret that eating well is good for both body and mind, so it may not come as a surprise that a new study finds women who eat more olive oil and leafy vegetables such as salads and cooked spinach are significantly less likely to develop heart disease.
A group of Italian researchers found that women who ate at least 1 serving of leafy vegetables per day were more than 40 percent less likely to develop heart disease over an average of eight years, relative to women who ate two or fewer portions of those vegetables each week.
Women who downed at least 3 tablespoons of olive oil daily - such as in salad dressing - were also 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, compared to women who ate the least olive oil.
It's not exactly clear why specifically leafy vegetables and olive oil may protect the heart, study author Dr. Domenico Palli of the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute in Florence told Reuters Health. "Probably the mechanisms responsible for the protective effect of plant-origin foods on cardiovascular diseases involve micronutrients such as folate, antioxidant vitamins and potassium, all present in green leafy vegetables."
To read the rest of the story, please go to: Reuters.