The Benefits of Olive Oil for the Heart, Brain and Longevity


Olive oil is associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease Substituting butter or whole dairy products with olive oil, according to a new study is associated with a reduced risk of death from many common diseases.

Olive oil and olives

Is something as simple as using 1/2 tablespoon or more of olive oil in place of butter or full-fat dairy products in your daily diet could help increase your chances of living longer? That would be a yes, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published on 18 January in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Researchers found that people who used 7 grams (g) or more, about 1/2 tablespoon, for cooking, as a salad dressing or with their bread, had a reduced risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease or Alzheimer’s disease, compared to people who rarely or never consumed olive oil. Replacing approximately g per day of butter, margarine, mayonnaise or dairy fat by an equivalent amount of olive oil was also associated with a lower risk of early death.

These results support current dietary recommendations to increase consumption of olive oil and other unsaturated vegetable oils.

What are the health benefits of olive oil?

It There are different types of fatty acids in olive oil, but it is mostly made up of monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats may help lower the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Olive oil is no less caloric than other types of oil (it contains 9 calories per g, approximately 120 calories per tablespoon). This corresponds to the other types of fats. That’s why experts recommend substituting olive oil for a less healthy oil or butter rather than just adding it to your diet.

People are consuming more of olive oil and less margarine than in previous decades

Researchers examined 60 582 women and 31 582 healthy men from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study . During the 18 years of follow-up, participants had their plan assessed every four years. food that asked them how often, on average, they consumed specific foods, types of fats and oils, and the brand or type of oil they used to cook and add to the table over the course of previous year.

Participants’ use of olive oil for cooking, seasoning was calculated and summed to estimate total use, and use of other types of fats such as margarine, butter and vegetable oil was calculated in the same way.

Researchers observed a trend over time: Consumption of vegetable oil olive in the group more than doubled between 1990 and 2010, going from 1.6g to 4g. Over the same period, margarine consumption increased from 12 g per day in 582 to 4 g per day in 582. Use of other types of fats remained about the same.

People who consume more olive oil are more likely to have other healthy behaviors

Researchers placed each participant into one of four groups, based on how much olive oil they consumed.

– Never or less than once a month

– Less than or equal to 4.5 g (about 1 teaspoon) per day

– Between 4.5 and 7 g (about 1 teaspoon to ½ tablespoon) per day

– More than 7 g (about ½ tablespoon) per day

Interestingly, subjects who consumed more olive oil were more likely to be physically active, to be of southern European or Mediterranean descent, to be non-smokers and to report eating more fruit and vegetables than people who consumed less.

In total, 93 856 deaths occurred during follow-up. Comparing the groups, people who consumed the most olive oil had a lower cardiovascular mortality risk of 19%, a lower risk of cancer mortality of % , a lower risk of respiratory mortality of 18% and a lower risk of neurodegenerative mortality of 31 % compared to the group that rarely or never consumed olive oil.

Respiratory diseases include acute diseases such as pneumonia and influenza, as well as chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Neurodegenerative diseases occur when nerve cells in the brain or peripheral nervous system gradually lose function and die, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The most common neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers also found that replacing 10 g per day of fats such as margarine, butter, mayonnaise and milk fat per olive oil was associated with an 8 to 34% reduction in total and specific mortality risk. They found no significant association when replacing olive oil with other vegetable oils.

Olive oil and other healthy fats may help protect your brain

This study adds to the growing literature on the importance of diet and healthy fats for brain health. The brain gets all of its essential nutrients from food, so it’s no surprise that eating habits that repeat themselves meal after meal, day after day, year after year can affect brain aging.

Fats are particularly important because brain cells and their connections contain high levels of fat, which is important for their normal functioning. Unhealthy fats increase inflammation, which has negative effects on the brain and can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain aging disorders, while healthy fats like olive oil are anti -inflammatory and may be protective as this study suggests.

The authors acknowledged that olive oil may be associated with other behaviors that would make people less likely to die, such as having a better diet in general or belonging to a higher socio-economic class. However, even after adjusting for these and other factors related to socioeconomic status, the results remained largely the same.


Consumption of Olive Oil and Risk of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Among US Adults

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