(AGI) Rome, Aug 10 - Grana Padano cheese, one of the most popular Italian DOP (Denominazione Origine Protetta - Protected Designation of Origin) products in the world, has partnered with the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) to be a part of the Italian athletes' diet at the Rio Olympics. The general director of the Grana Padano Consortium, Stefano Berni, said: "Among the Italian protagonists in Rio de Janeiro is Grana Padano, the most popular DOP product in the world and CONI's partner. It's also present on the Italian House's official menu. Renowned chef Davide Oldani is working with the Italian House on the Horizontal project, which integrates Italian products such as pasta, oil, certain cold cuts and Grana Padano with those that Rio's markets offer daily, namely fruit, vegetables, herbs and fish." The Consortium's decision to partner up with CONI for the Olympics was "spontaneous", he added. "Grana Padano is an excellent addition to an athlete's correct diet due to its many readily available nutrients. It's high in protein of high biological value. It also has mineral salts, vitamins, and is one of the few cheeses with under 45 percent fat in dry matter. It can be eaten during training, rest, and even three hours before competing," he stated. Mr Berni added that Grana Padano can also have a hypotensive effect. A recent study by the Hypotension Operating Unit of the Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital in Piacenza, led by Doctor Giuseppe Crippa, showed that eating 30 grams of Grana Padano DOP (aged 12-14 months) every day for two months can significantly reduce high blood pressure. "We're very pleased by this initiative and the success we're having in Brazil, because the Italian House's food is one of the most popular and coveted ones in the entire Olympic complex. Grana Padano is a flagship product among high-quality Italian products and this fact is acknowledged worldwide. There isn't a DOP product - and DOP doesn't mean just Italy, but the entire EU - that's more widely consumed and diffused in the world," Mr Berni commented. He concluded: "Production levels rose considerably in the first four months of the year, and they've realigned with the global consumption trend in the last quarter. From January to July, production was 2.90 percent higher than in the same period of 2015, in line with the increase in overall consumption." (AGI).