Vascular effects of the Mediterranean diet Part I: Anti-hypertensive and anti-thrombotic effects

C. Capurso, M. Massaro, E. Scoditti, G. Vendemiale, A. Capurso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review summarizes available evidence on the beneficial effects of inorganic nitrates and the monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) oleic acid, largely contained in Mediterranean diet, on blood pressure and coagulation activity.Inorganic nitrate. Normal vascular function requires NO production from the 1-arginine-NO synthase (NOS) pathway. This process is defective in conditions of local hypoxia, and here nitrite can substitute for 1-arginine-NOS derived NO. In this context, NO generation from the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway mostly derived from green leafy vegetables appears to be an alternative source for NOS-dependent NO production, ensuring NO bioavailability also in situations when the endogenous 1-arginine/NO synthase pathway is dysfunctional or physiologically reduced in local hypoxic conditions.Olive oil and oleic acid. In addition to effects on lipoprotein metabolism and oxidation, the beneficial effects of oleic acid occur also on coagulation activity, namely on coagulation factor VII (FVII). Normally, a substantial increase of FVII coagulant activity (FVIIc) occurs within 2-3. h after a fatty meal and persists for several hours thereafter. When a background diet high in MUFA is consumed, a lower post-prandial increase of FVIIc takes place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages9
JournalVascular Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Factor VII
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Nitrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Medicine(all)


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