Instead of using butter, margarine, mayo or dairy fat, choosing olive oil could help lower your risk for a number of diseases.
New research on the benefits of olive oil showed that just a small amount each day has this positive effect.
The study followed more than 90,000 men and women in the U.S. over the course of 28 years. The diets of all participants were assessed every 4 years with a questionnaire. The goal of this research was to look at whether olive oil intake was associated with a lowered risk of dying from various diseases.
- Participants who ate olive oil daily had a 29% lower risk of dying from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
- They also had a 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, a 17% lower risk of cancer mortality, and an 18% lower risk of respiratory disease mortality.
- Participants had an overall 8%-34% lower risk of total and cause-specific mortality when they substituted butter, margarine, mayo and dairy fat with olive oil instead.
The takeaway: It has long been known that olive oil is good for cardiovascular health due to its rich profile of antioxidants, polyphenols, nutrients and healthy fats. However the association of lower risk of death from diseases such as Alzheimer’s is a new finding. It is important to note that the amount of olive oil looked at in the study was pretty moderate; just over 1/2 a tablespoon per day. And of course the context of the participants’ overall diet mattered too. Eating olive oil as part of a healthy, whole food based diet does make a difference!