Scientists at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health reported that people who consume high amounts of olive oil can reduce the risk of premature death. This includes noncommunicable diseases, for example, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative diseases and even some types of cancer.
Likewise, the scientists also found that people with a higher consumption of olive oil instead of animal fat had a lower risk of total and specific mortality. According to the institution, this is the first long-term observational study on olive oil consumption and early mortality in the United States.
Most of the previous research on olive oil and health has focused on populations in Europe and part of the Mediterranean, where consumption of this fatty product is higher. Marta Guasch-Ferre, a nutrition research scientist at Harvard Chan School, said: “Our findings confirm that olive oil consumption can prevent chronic disease and premature death.”
For Marta Guasch-Ferre and the group of scientists, olive oil has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, its association with premature death has not yet been confirmed by any group of health specialists. According to the researchers, they used health data collected between 1990 and 2018 from 60,582 female nurses and 31,801 male health professionals. All participants were free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of the study and completed dietary questionnaires every four years. During the study period, 36,856 people died.
Participants were frequently asked if they used olive oil in salad dressings or used it in baking, frying, or adding it to other types of foods. According to the results, people with an intake of more than 7 grams per day of olive oil had a 19% lower risk of total mortality. On top of that, they had a 17 percent lower risk of cancer mortality, a 29 percent lower risk of neurodegenerative mortality, and an 18 percent lower chance of dying from any respiratory condition.
Marta Guasch-Ferre said that doctors should advise their patients to replace certain fats, for example, butter or margarine, and encourage them to use more olive oil to improve their health. “Our study helps make specific recommendations that will be easy for patients to understand, and hopefully implement olive oil into their diets,” she said.
Scientific studies provide more and more evidence of the beneficial properties of olive oil to increase health in people. In this way, specialists continue to discover more properties of the oil obtained from the fruit of the olive tree that began its cultivation in Egypt 2,000 years ago.
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