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Mortality risk reduced by regular olive oil consumption, new evidence demonstrates

Latest research suggests that people with a high daily intake of olive oil are less likely to die from some severe medical conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

Respiratory disease mortality and neurodegenerative disease mortality is also less common amongst people who consume more than seven grams of olive oil per day, the study has reported.

Scientists from the American College of Cardiology discovered that swapping 10 grams of butter, mayonnaise and dairy fat each day in exchange for the same quantity of olive oil also significantly reduces an individual’s overall mortality risk.

First author Dr Marta Guasch-Ferré said: “Our findings support current dietary recommendations to increase the intake of olive oil and other unsaturated vegetable oils.

“Clinicians should be counselling patients to replace certain fats, such as margarine and butter, with olive oil to improve their health.”

She added: “Our study helps make more specific recommendations that will be easier for patients to understand and hopefully implement into their diets.”

During the study, the academics examined the diets of more than 60,000 women and more than 30,000 men, all of whom were disease free at the start of the trial in 1990.

Each participant filled in surveys every four years to outline their average fat and oil consumption.

In the surveys, olive oil intake was measured on how often a participant used it on salads, whilst baking or cooking and when adding it to other meals and bread. According to the study, one tablespoon equaled more than 13 grams of olive oil.

The researchers found that the participants who consumed the most olive oil per day were 19 per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 17 per cent less likely to die from cancer. In addition, they were more protected from neurodegenerative mortality and respiratory mortality, the results have revealed.

Dr Guasch-Ferré said: “It’s possible that higher olive oil consumption is a marker of an overall healthier diet and higher socioeconomic status.

“However, even after adjusting for these and other social economic status factors, our results remained largely the same.”

She added: “Our study cohort was predominantly a non-Hispanic white population of health professionals, which should minimize potentially confounding socioeconomic factors, but may limit generalizability as this population may be more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle.”

According to the findings, individuals with a higher olive oil intake were more likely to have an active lifestyle, follow a nutritious diet and more likely to be non-smokers.

Associate professor of epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Susanna C. Larsson said: “The current study and previous studies have found that consumption of olive oil may have health benefits. However, more research is needed to address these questions.”

The entire research study can now be accessed in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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