Less than a tablespoon of olive oil a day lowers risk of death, study says

Less than a tablespoon of olive oil a day slows death risk, study says

Increasing olive oil consumption may lower the risk of death from several diseases, according to a new study. File photo by Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Jan. 10 (UPI) – Adding less than a tablespoon of olive oil to their diet lowers the risk of death from heart or lung disease, as well as brain disease and cancer, according to a study published Monday by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Compared with participants who rarely or never consumed olive oil, those who added half a tablespoon or more to their diet daily had a 19% lower risk of death from heart disease, the data showed.

They were also 17% less likely to die from cancer and 18% less likely to die from lung disease, the researchers said.

This level of olive oil consumption was also associated with a 29% lower risk of death from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, according to the researchers.

In addition, substituting 10 grams or just under a tablespoon a day of olive oil for the same amount of margarine, butter, mayonnaise and dairy lowered a person’s risk of premature death from all causes by up to 34%, they said.

However, this was not the case when replacing olive oil with other vegetable oils, the researchers said.

“Our findings support current dietary recommendations to increase intake of olive oil and other unsaturated vegetable oils,” study co-author Marta Guasch-Ferré said in a press release.

“Our study helps provide more specific recommendations that are easier for patients to understand and hopefully implement into their diets,” said Guasch-Ferré, senior research scientist in nutrition at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Recent studies have shown that the consumption of dietary fats from plant sources, such as olive oil, can lower the risk of stroke, while others have found that the so-called Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, can help reduce the risk of stroke . dementia.

Using participants from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, Guasch-Ferré and her colleagues from two ongoing assessments of adults in the United States analyzed data for 60,582 women and 31,801 over a 28-year period.

The participants’ diets were assessed every four years using a questionnaire and they were asked how often, on average, they consumed specific foods and types of fats and oils, and what brand or type of oil they used for cooking and eating. the researchers said.

Consumption was calculated from total olive oil used for salad dressings, added to food or bread, and used for baking and frying at home, the researchers said.

Consumption of other vegetable oils was calculated based on the oil brand reported by the participants and the type of fat used for home cooking. Intake of dairy and other fats and nutrients was also measured, they said.

Olive oil consumption rose from an average of 1.6 grams per day at the start of the study period, in 1990, to about 4 grams per day, or about a third of a tablespoon, in 2010, the data shows.

Over the same period, margarine consumption dropped to about 4 grams per day from about 12 grams per day, or nearly 1 tablespoon, while intake of other fats remained stable, the researchers said.

Of the study participants, 36,856 died during the study period, according to the researchers.

Those with higher olive oil consumption were generally more physically active, smoked less and ate more fruits and vegetables compared to those with lower intakes, the data showed.

About 5% of the study participants consumed an average of 9 grams of olive oil per day, or about three-quarters of a tablespoon, the researchers said.

“It’s possible that higher consumption of olive oil is a sign of an overall healthier diet,” Guasch-Ferré said.

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