Olive oil is widely recognized as a healthy option because of its healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients. New research shows it might also help people live a longer, healthier life. A study found that people who have a diet high in olive oil are less likely to die young.
Researchers looked at data from more than 92,000 people gathered over 28 years. No one in the study had heart disease or cancer at the beginning. The participants tracked their diet. Researchers found that the people who ate the most olive oil — more than half a tablespoon a day — were 19 percent less likely to die early from any cause than people who didn’t eat it. They were 17 percent less likely to die young from cancer, 18 percent less likely to die early from respiratory disease, 19 percent less likely to die young from heart disease and 29 percent less likely to die early from neurodegenerative disease.
Having just one teaspoon a day was linked to a 12 percent lower risk of an early death. Other vegetable oils did not have the same positive impact on health. However, many have been proven to be healthier than saturated fats like butter.
It’s hard to tell what the cause of this could be. There are limitations to the study. Using olive oil instead of butter is excellent for health. It could be that people who have a lot of olive oil in their diet aren’t using other, less healthy fats. People who use olive oil may be following a healthy lifestyle in general — maybe olive oil users are less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise, and this study fails to see that. So, adding olive oil to your day is not a surefire way of guaranteeing you’ll make it to 100. However, swapping less healthy fats for olive oil is a good choice.
“Phenols and antioxidants from extra virgin olive oil are transferred to vegetables when they’re cooked in it, thereby increasing the nutrient content of the vegetables,” said registered dietician Elysia Cartlidge. “To reap the full benefits of this nutritious oil, it’s recommended that olive oil be used frequently in cooking and meal preparation.”
This study shows why you should consider using olive oil as your go-to cooking choice. We like keeping a varied diet, and many oils have health benefits, but this link is hard to shrug off!