Increased Consumption of Virgin Olive Oil, Nuts, Legumes, Whole Grains, and Fish Promotes HDL Functions in Humans

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2019 Mar;63(6):e1800847. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800847. Epub 2019 Jan 15.


Scope: To evaluate whether increases in the consumption of cardioprotective food groups (virgin olive oil, nuts, fruits/vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, and wine) are associated with improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) functions in high cardiovascular risk subjects.

Methods and results: The association between 1-year changes in food group consumption and HDL functionality traits in 296 high cardiovascular risk subjects is assessed. Increases in virgin olive oil (10 g d-1 ) and whole grain consumption (25 g d-1 ) are associated with increments in cholesterol efflux capacity (+0.7%, P = 0.026, and +0.6%, P = 0.017, respectively). Increases in nut (30 g d-1 ) and legume intake (25 g d-1 ) are linked to increments in paraoxonase-1 activity (+12.2%, P = 0.049, and +11.7%, P = 0.043, respectively). Legume intake increases are also related to decreases in cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity (-4.8%, P = 0.028). Fish consumption increments (25 g d-1 ) are associated with increases in paraoxonase-1 activity (+3.9%, P = 0.030) and declines in cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity (-1.6%, P = 0.021), HDL cholesterol concentrations (-1.1%, P = 0.039), and functions related to HDL levels (cholesterol efflux capacity, -1.1%, P = 0.010).

Conclusion: Increases in the consumption of virgin olive oil, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fish (achievable through a regular diet) were associated with improvements in HDL functions in high cardiovascular risk subjects.

Keywords: fish; high-density lipoprotein functionality; legumes and grains; nuts; virgin olive oil.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Fabaceae*
  • Female
  • Fish Products*
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuts
  • Olive Oil*
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains*


  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Olive Oil