(ORDO NEWS) — A Harvard University study found that using olive oil may protect against death from cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, dementia, and other illnesses.
The research and editorial were published in the American College of Cardiology.
The study analyzed the diets of people who participated in two large studies: the Nursing Health Study and a follow-up study of healthcare professionals.
“It’s a combination of decreasing saturated fat while increasing the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil,” said Dr. Howard LeWine.
“The bottom line is that every time, whenever possible, you use olive oil as a substitute for saturated fat in cooking or in salad dressings,” said Dr. Levin, who was not involved in the study.
Men and women who substituted just over two teaspoons (10 grams) of butter, margarine, mayonnaise, or milk fat for the same amount of olive oil had an almost 34% lower overall risk of death than people who ate little or no olive oil, according to study author Marta Guasch-Ferre.
“This is the first long-term study with over 90,000 participants followed over 30 years in the American population on olive oil and mortality,” she said.
“Previous studies have been conducted in the Mediterranean and European countries, where the consumption of olive oil tends to be higher.
Our results support the recommendation to replace saturated fat and animal fat with unsaturated vegetable oils, such as olive oil, to prevent premature death.”
Participants in the study who reported they consumed the most olive oil had a 19% lower risk of dying from heart disease, a 17% lower risk of dying from cancer, a 29% lower risk of dying from neurodegenerative diseases, and an 18% lower risk of dying from respiratory disease compared to those who never or rarely consumed olive oil instead of saturated fat, said Susanna Larsson, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden .
Bala discovered a new link between olive oil and fewer brain deaths, Larsson wrote.
“Given the lack of strategies to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and the high morbidity and mortality associated with the disease, this finding, if confirmed, has great public health implications.”
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