Although the benefits of the Mediterranean diet are well recognized, olive oil may be its secret weapon.
According to a recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, consuming less than two teaspoons (about seven grams) of olive oil daily can reduce your risk of dying from respiratory, cardiovascular, cancer, and neurological diseases.[The study on the Consumption of Olive Oil and Risk of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Among U.S. Adults]
According to the study, 10 grams of olive oil for each gram of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and dairy fat may also reduce mortality risk.[Original study of Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality]
According to primary author Marta Guasch-Ferré, "our findings corroborate current dietary recommendations to increase the consumption of olive oil and other unsaturated vegetable oils." Our work helps offer more specific suggestions that will be simpler for patients to understand, such as telling patients to substitute particular fats like margarine and butter with olive oil.
Researchers examined 60,582 women and 31,801 men free of cancer and cardiovascular disease at the study's baseline in 1990 using information from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.[Read Olive Oil and Mortality]
For the following 28 years, their diet was evaluated every four years. They were asked how frequently they consumed particular meals, what fats and oils they used, and what oil they used for cooking and at the table in the questionnaire used to evaluate their diet.
In the 28-year research, 36,856 people lost their lives.
Researchers concluded that study participants who consumed 7 grams or more of olive oil daily had a 19% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, a 17% lower risk of dying from cancer, a 29% lower risk of dying from neurodegenerative disease, and an 18% lower risk of dying from respiratory disease.
The study also discovered that replacing 10 grams of other fats, such as margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and dairy fat, with olive oil was associated with an 8%–34% decrease in overall and cause-specific mortality.
They did not discover any meaningful connections when they used olive oil instead of other vegetable oils.
An intriguing finding was that people who consumed more olive oil were more likely to be physically active, to be of southern European or Mediterranean heritage, to smoke less, and to drink more fruits and vegetables than participants who consumed less olive oil.
No single study can provide a definite answer as to what will increase our lifespan. However, the results of this study align with all we've learned previously concerning dietary fat consumption. It identifies olive oil as critical in extending our lives and lowering particular health risks.
All of this supports the notion that we must take the initiative to live longer. And obviously, altering our diets is one method to achieve this.