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 Replacing butter or whole dairy products with olive oil is associated with a lower risk of death, according to a new study. reduced risk of death from many common diseases.

Olive oil and olives

Could 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 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 Jan. 18 in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Researchers found that people who used 7 grams (g) or more, about 1/2 tablespoon, in 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 around 10g per day of butter, margarine, mayonnaise or dairy fat with an equivalent amount of olive oil was also associated with a lower risk of early death.

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

What are the health benefits of olive oil?

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, about 120 calories per tablespoon). This corresponds to the other types of fats. This is why experts recommend substituting olive oil for a less healthy oil or butter rather than simply adding it to your diet.

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

Researchers examined 60,582 healthy women and 31,801 men from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Over the 28 years of follow-up, participants underwent a diet assessment every four years that asked how often, on average, they ate specific foods, types of fats and oils, and the brand or type of oil they used to cook and add to the table during the previous year.

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

The researchers observed a trend over time: Olive oil consumption in the group more than doubled between 1990 and 2010, from 1.6g to 4g. During the same period, consumption of margarine increased from 12 g per day in 1990 to 4 g per day in 2010. The use of other types of fats remained about the same.

People Who Consume More Olive Oil Are More Likely to Engage in Other Healthy Behaviors

The 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 ancestry, to be non-smokers, and to report eating more fruits and vegetables than people who ate less.

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A total of 36,856 deaths occurred during follow-up. Comparing the groups, those who consumed the most olive oil had a 19% lower cardiovascular mortality risk, a 17% lower cancer mortality risk, an 18% lower respiratory mortality risk, and a 29% lower risk of neurodegenerative mortality compared to the group that rarely or never consumed olive oil.

Respiratory illnesses include acute illnesses like pneumonia and influenza, as well as chronic illnesses like 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 10g per day of fats such as margarine, butter, mayonnaise and dairy fat with olive oil was associated with an 8-34% reduction in risk. total and specific mortality. 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.

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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 being from a higher socioeconomic class. high. 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

* The information and services available on in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. []

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