The antiaging benefits of olive oil have been well-documented. Yet another study has verified the life-extending properties of this healthy oil.
This latest study confirms that people who consume more than 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil a day are less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or lung disease when compared to people who consume less of this “good” fat.
Olive oil is rich in healthful antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamins and is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. “One may speculate that mechanisms related to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of olive oil may have played a role in these findings,” said study author Marta Guasch-Ferre, a research scientist in the nutrition department at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data on more than 90,000 people from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who were free of heart disease and cancer when the study began in 1990. These folks were followed for 28 years. Every four years, they were asked how often they ate certain foods, including fats such as margarine, butter, mayonnaise, dairy fat, and olive oil.
When compared with people who never consumed olive oil, those who consumed more than 1/2 a tablespoon a day had a 19% lower risk of dying from heart disease, a 17% lower risk of dying from cancer, a 29% lower risk of dying from a neurodegenerative disease, and an 18% lower risk of dying from lung disease.
Interestingly enough, the authors of the study point out that olive oil consummation is consistent with an overall healthier lifestyle, which could also account for the increased health and longevity of the heavy olive oil uses in the study. The researchers found that folks in the study who consumed the most olive oil were more physically active, less likely to smoke, and ate more fruits and vegetables than people who consumed less olive oil.
So, while olive oil is a great antiaging substitute for butter and other artery-clogging fats in your diet, it’s not just adding olive oil to your diet that staves off death from disease, said Guasch-Ferre. “We need to pay attention to overall diet quality and lifestyle, and consistent with our results, the key would be to add olive oil into the diet as a substitution of other unhealthier fats.”
The findings are published in the Jan. 11 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.