Harvard researchers may have dispelled negative perceptions about the oil, publishing a new study that found that people who consumed more olive oil reduced their risk of premature death and multiple diseases.
Posted this week in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers revealed the results of a 28-year study comprised of more than 90,000 participants. All of them were free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of the study and, over several decades, completed dietary questionnaires every four years.
The researchers asked the participants how often they used olive oil in their salad dressings, food, bread, or for baking or frying. The study results showed that those in the highest category of olive oil consumption, defined as more than seven grams per day, had a 19 percent lower risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality.
Those in the high olive oil category also had a 17 percent lower risk of cancer mortality, a 29 percent lower risk of neurodegenerative mortality, and an 18 percent lower risk of respiratory mortality, compared with those who never or rarely consumed olive oil.
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The researchers compared the use of olive oil with margarine, butter, mayonnaise and dairy fat.
“Doctors should advise patients to replace certain fats, such as margarine and butter, with olive oil to improve their health. Our study helps make specific recommendations that will be easy for patients to understand and hopefully implement into their diets,” said Marta Guasch-Ferré, senior research scientist at Harvard Chan School. in a sentence.
The researchers behind the olive oil study said this was the first long-term observational study of olive oil consumption and mortality in the US, as previous research on olive oil and health was mainly focused on populations from Europe and the Mediterranean.
Susanna Larsson, corresponding author of the study, wrote in an editorial that the association between olive oil consumption and the risk of mortality from neurodegenerative diseases is especially novel, given that Alzheimer’s disease is the main neurodegenerative disease and the most common cause of dementia.
Larsson wrote, “Considering the lack of preventive strategies for Alzheimer’s disease and the high morbidity and mortality associated with this disease, this finding, if confirmed, is of great public health importance.”
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