- By Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men’s Health Watch
Consuming a small amount of olive oil every day may help you live longer, according to an observational study.
Researchers looked at health data from about 90,000 people over a period of nearly 30 years. Participants were free of heart disease and cancer and completed dietary questionnaires every four years. They were asked how often, on average, they ate specific foods, including types of fats and oils.
The results showed that those who consumed more than ½ tablespoon of olive oil per day (more than 7 grams) had a 19% lower risk of dying from any cause than those who rarely or never had olive oil. Looking at specific conditions, the researchers found the olive oil group also had a 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a 17% lower risk of dying from cancer, and a 29% lower risk of dying from a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers suggested that substituting olive oil for unhealthier fats could have a more significant effect. They estimated that replacing 10 grams per day of fats like margarine, butter, and mayonnaise with the same amount of olive oil could lower the risk of overall death and disease by as much as 34%. The study was published online Jan. 12, 2022, by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.