Acne, itching, dryness, and wrinkles… We already know the thousand and one virtues of olive oil for the skin, but it also overflows with health benefits. At the base of the Mediterranean and Cretan diets, olive oil is the subject of a host of scientific studies which follow one another to reveal its many benefits for the brain, the heart, and longevity. What make it essential in your diet.
Antioxidants, monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals: the composition of olive oil, although it may vary depending on the climate or the variety of olives, is rich in (most often) beneficial fats for health. This is revealed by the latest scientific studies to date that have looked into the subject. While it is not necessary to consume it morning, noon, and evening, olive oil is highly deserving of inclusion in a healthy diet to help maintain heart and brain health, but also to prevent premature death. Here are three good reasons to incorporate olive oil into your daily diet.
To reduce the risk of dementia
Presented as part of Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, a new study confirms the virtues of olive oil on brain health. After analyzing dietary questionnaires, as well as the death records of more than 90,000 Americans over three decades, the researchers suggested that consuming more than half a tablespoon of olive oil daily was associated to a 28% reduction in the risk of death from dementia, compared to infrequent or no consumption. As a reminder, more than 55 million people suffer from dementia in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Our study reinforces dietary guidelines recommending vegetable oils such as olive oil and suggests that these recommendations not only promote heart health but also potentially brain health. Opting for olive oil, a natural product, instead of fats such as commercial margarine and mayonnaise is a safe choice and may reduce the risk of fatal dementia“, underlines Anne-Julie Tessier, main author of the study, in a press release. The researcher specifies however that this is observational work which does not prove that olive oil is directly at the origin reduced risk of fatal dementia, but reinforce the idea that she can participate in adopting a healthy diet.
To maintain heart health
But olive oil could also prove beneficial in preserving the heart from certain diseases. This was shown in this study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2022, but from another angle. It is precisely more than 60,000 women and more than 31,000 men free of cardiovascular disease at the start of the research who were followed for 28 years, with a questionnaire on their diet every four years. Verdict, the study showed that a consumption of more than 7 grams of olive oil per day, corresponding here again to more than half a tablespoon, was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality. (-19%), mortality from cancer (-17%), and therefore also mortality from neurodegenerative disease (-29%), compared to occasional or zero consumption.
“Our results support current dietary recommendations to increase the consumption of olive oil and other unsaturated vegetable oils. Clinicians should advise patients to replace certain fats, such as margarine and butter, with olive oil to improve health“, also explained Professor Marta Guasch-Ferré, lead author of the study. Note that this work also showed that people with a higher consumption of olive oil were more likely to be physically active, less likely to smoke, and ate more fruits and vegetables.
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To live longer
Still the same study, specifically conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, with more than 90,000 people in good health at the start of the work, and followed for 28 years, comes to the conclusion that a high consumption of olive oil, ie more than half a teaspoon a day, would make it possible to live longer. This would be all the more the case if the olive oil in question replaces other forms of fat such as butter, margarine, or mayonnaise. At the end of their research, the scientists also specify that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of olive oil could greatly contribute to preserving health.