There’s a running joke at my house that we ought to buy some stock in an olive grove.
Because we plow through so much olive oil every week that at least we’d be paying ourselves back every time we buy a new bottle.
You see, I use olive oil in just about every meal I make at home. And now, new research reveals I might have bought myself a few extra years on this Earth as a result.
In fact, after reading this study, I’m considering referring to olive oil as “longevity oil” from now on.
But it turns out that switching to olive oil won’t just likely extend your life. It could make those extra years far healthier too.
Kitchen switch could lead to better health
This was no small study we’re talking about here. The researchers crunched a ton of numbers to reach their conclusions.
The scientists analyzed 28 years of follow-up data from 60,582 women and 31,801 men who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professional Follow-up Study.
All the participants were heart disease and cancer-free at the start of the study in 1990. And they continued to complete extensive questionnaires every four years.
The volunteers were asked to report on how often they consumed certain specific foods, the types of oils and fats they used, and which kinds of oils they used for cooking and for adding at the table.
According to the new study, downing over half a tablespoon of olive oil a day (more than 7 grams) was associated with a lower risk of dying from…
- neurodegenerative disease
- cardiovascular disease
- respiratory disease
Plus, swapping out 10 grams of margarine, mayonnaise, butter, or dairy fat with the same amount of olive oil daily was linked to an overall lower risk of death too.
And while vegetable oil wasn’t included in that list, there’s plenty of other research that finds most highly inflammatory vegetable oils should be avoided. See our earlier report 4 reasons to dump your vegetable oils down the drain for more on this connection.
Live longer by eating more olive oil
How much of the oil participants ate was calculated by adding up three questionnaire items: olive oil added to food or bread, olive oil used for salad dressings, and olive oil used for baking or frying at home. And one tablespoon was equal to 13.5 grams.
The folks who ate the most olive oil averaged about 9 grams a day. And when the researchers made a head-to-head comparison between folks who rarely used the oil to those who ate the most, they found the olive oil fans had a…
- 29% lower risk of dying from neurodegenerative disease
- 19% lower risk of dying from heart disease
- 18% lower risk of dying from respiratory disease
- 17% lower risk of dying from cancer
Now, as impressive as these results are, keep in mind this wasn’t a double-blind placebo-controlled lab study. It was an observational study.
Observational studies are just as valuable, and the research is solid. But we can’t say olive oil directly caused the drops in death risk. So we will still need more research to confirm the connections.
But that said, there’s even more good news. When the researchers adjusted the data to filter out any factors that could have been skewing the results, such as an overall healthier diet or higher socioeconomic status, the findings were still solid.
Eating more olive oil was linked to a longer and healthier life.
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