Can Olive Oil Help You Live Longer?

key takeaways

  • Olive oil is rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and other important compounds that support overall health.
  • People who consume more olive oil may have a lower risk of premature death, a new study suggests.
  • Olive oil can be part of a nutritious meal plan, but the key is to remember that all the foods you eat can collectively provide health benefits.

Olive oil is often called a superfood because it’s rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and other key nutrients. It can also help you live longer, according to new research.

The findings were published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that people with higher olive oil intake were more likely to experience positive health outcomes, including a reduced risk of premature death.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil is exactly what it sounds like – oil from the pressing of olive fruit (yes, an olive is a fruit!). While all oils contain fat, some oils are better than others.

Unlike lard and butter, olive oil does not contain fats that are solid at room temperature. These are called saturated fats, and they are less healthy than other fats.

In contrast, olive oil is mainly composed of healthier monounsaturated fatty acids. This oil also contains phenolic compounds, antioxidants, and fat-derived beneficial molecules such as tocopherols.

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The main fatty acid in olive oil is called oleic acid. It is a key player in the positive health effects that have made olive oil the darling of the health world.

Studies have found that adding olive oil to your diet is associated with some specific health benefits, including:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • healthy gut flora
  • Reduce oxidative stress
  • Anti-inflammatory effect

Olive oil may help reduce the risk of health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

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Research

We know olive oil is rich in compounds that support our overall health, but researchers wondered if adding olive oil to our diets had some specific benefits.

Who is included?

In the most recent study, researchers looked at data from the Nurses’ Health Study (1990-2018) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1990-2018).

The data included 60,582 women and 31,801 men. None of them had cardiovascular disease or cancer when the study began.

For 28 years, the participants recorded their dietary information. The researchers also obtained information about the participants’ health outcomes, including whether they had died.

prevent heart disease

What does the research show?

Grind without olive oil.

People with higher olive oil intake also had:

  • 19% lower risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease
  • 17% lower risk of premature death from cancer
  • 29% lower risk of premature death neurodegenerative disease
  • 18% lower risk of premature death from respiratory disease

Replace fat with olive oil

The study also showed that people who replaced 10 grams of other fat sources such as margarine, butter, mayonnaise and milk fat with the same amount of olive oil also had a reduced risk of premature death from all causes.

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Research limitations

Melissa Azzaro, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian and podcast host for Hormonally Yours, told VigorTip that people in the study who ate more olive oil had other heart-healthy habits — like not smoking, and not eating fruits and vegetables .

Azzaro, who was not involved in the study, said that while olive oil can be part of a balanced diet plan, the study’s findings “should be taken with a grain of salt” because “it is difficult to assess whether a positive outcome is an outcome of olive oil, or Whether people experience these outcomes because of their overall lifestyle choices.”

Another limitation of the study, according to Azzaro, is that all data were reported by participants. When people self-report their dietary information, they may get some details wrong or miss something. Therefore, the data that researchers must analyze may be incomplete.

However, Azzaro does agree that even with the limitations of the study, adding olive oil to an overall nutritious diet carries little, if any, risk. People who do so may reap health benefits, such as reducing chronic inflammation and improving heart health.

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Add olive oil to your diet

Sharon Puello, RD, CDCES, registered dietitian and owner of FRESH Nutrition, told VigorTip that in terms of how much olive oil you need to add to your diet each day to get benefits, “the magic number seems to be 2 to 4 tablespoons.”

Puello suggests exploring homemade olive oil-based salad dressings, drizzling olive oil over hummus for a snack on crackers or vegetables, or dipping bread in olive oil and dried herb mixtures like Za’atar for any A delicious meal for a meal.

Best Edible Oils for Lowering Cholesterol

Elysia Cartlidge, RD, a registered dietitian and owner of Haute & Healthy Living, told VigorTip that while olive oil is generally considered unsuitable for cooking because it has a lower smoke point than other oils, that doesn’t mean you Can’t cook with it.

Alicia Cartridge

To reap the full benefits of this nutritional oil, regular use of olive oil in cooking and meal preparation is recommended.

— Alicia Cartridge

“The truth is that when you cook food with olive oil, you have very little — if any — oil that hits the smoke point,” Cartridge said. Additionally, studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil is the most stable cooking oil when heated.

According to Cartlidge, “The phenolics and antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil are transferred to the vegetable during cooking, increasing the vegetable’s nutrient content.”

In light of the evidence, Cartlidge concluded: “To take full advantage of the full benefits of this nutritional oil, regular use of olive oil in cooking and meal preparation is recommended.”

Olive oil is a delicious, versatile, and research-backed dietary supplement. That said, no single food is a “silver bullet” for health and wellness. Think of all the foods you eat working together instead of focusing on a single ingredient.

what does this mean to you

Incorporating olive oil into your diet, whether drizzling it on a salad or using it in cooking, has many health benefits. It may even help reduce your risk of dying prematurely. That said, no single food is a “silver bullet” for disease prevention. All the foods you eat work together to support your health.

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