Antioxidants and “good” cholesterol

Antioxidants and “good” cholesterol

The Umberto Veronesi Foundation has researched the positive effects of a range of ingredients often used by gelato makers.

Hazelnuts, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are some of the healthiest ingredients in hand-crafted gelato, a food that can play a part in a proper balanced diet. Gelato’s genuine ingredients and the increasing awareness of how healthy quality products can be, were both factors in encouraging the main figures in the hand-crafted gelato supply chain to fund the Umberto Veronesi Foundation, and bring scientific knowledge into the gelato shop.

Seven main ingredients: hazelnut with its vitamin E helps the skin and hair, is rich in nutrients for sports performance or as a tonic; blackberries contain vitamin C, mineral salts and fibre and are also rich in antioxidants and salicylates, which combat free radicals and inflammation. Strawberries and raspberries contain fibre and mineral salts as well as vitamin C, the main sources of ellagic acid, a powerful antioxidant which purifies the body. Pistachios contain vitamins, mineral salts, proteins and "good" fats, and make an excellent energy snack. Berries, such as blueberries, as well as having good vitamin C content, contain a high percentage of anthocyanins, pigments responsible for colours ranging from red to blue. Their considerable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative powers give anthocyanins a wide rage of beneficial properties, even in the fight against cancer. Mixed berries hand-crafted gelato is made up of 30 to 50% berries. Dark chocolate contains substances, such as vitamin B3, minerals such as magnesium and molecules that help keep us full of energy and good humour.

Dr. Elena Dogliotti’s study.

The research project that the hand-crafted gelato supply chain has chosen to support for two years is studying anthocyanin intake and their potential correlation with increased HDL (the so-called “good” cholesterol) and lower LDL cholesterol. Indeed, LDL is involved in the onset of cardiovascular diseases, favouring the build-up of fatty plaques in the blood vessels, which hinder normal blood flow and LDL oxidation is one of the factors involved in inflammatory phenomena at vascular level.

The study investigated the eating habits of a sample of volunteers to find out whether regular consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods such as berries (and therefore also the hand-crafted gelato that contains them) can counteract the risk factors involved in cardiovascular diseases, such as lipid profile, condition of heart and arteries, arterial pressure and last but not least genetic predisposition.

Increasing amounts of scientific data are confirming that an adequate supply of antioxidants such as polyphenols is correlated with longevity by acting on free radicals and therefore on the inflammatory processes that favour such chronic conditions as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, tumours, senile dementia, Parkinson's disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

That is why the Umberto Veronesi Foundation, with the support of the hand-crafted gelato supply chain for Elena Dogliotti’s research, within the framework of the European Athena Project, aims to study the relationship between consumption of anthocyanins and cardiovascular risk in humans.

Dogliotti’s research, on the relationship between nutrition and DNA, has been funded by some of the top names in the hand-crafted gelato supply chain such as AIIPA, ACOMAG, ArtGlace, CNA Alimentare, Cogel-Fipe, Confartigianato, GA, Maestri della Gelateria Italiana, SIGEP and PuntoIT magazine.

Antioxidants and “good” cholesterol
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