According to a recent study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers, people who consume large amounts of olive oil
may reduce their risk of premature mortality overall and from particular causes such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurological disease.
The researchers also discovered that persons who drank olive oil instead of animal fat had a decreased risk of total and cause-specific mortality.
This is the first long-term observational study on olive oil use and mortality in the United States. Also, The majority of past research on olive oil and health has been on populations from Europe and the Mediterranean, where olive oil intake is higher.
“Olive oil consumption has been related to lower cardiovascular disease risk, but its association with premature death was unknown,” said Marta Guasch-Ferré, a senior research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School. “Our findings support current dietary recommendations to replace animal fats with plant oils for the prevention of chronic illnesses and premature death.”
The researchers utilized health data from 60,582 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and 31,801 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study obtained between 1990 and 2018. Then all subjects were free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of the trial and completed dietary questionnaires every four years.
Participants were asked how often they used olive oil in salad dressings, on meals or bread, or in baking or frying. According to the findings, people who consumed the most olive oil (more than seven grams per day) had a 19% lower risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality a 17% lower risk of cancer mortality, a 29% lower risk of neurodegenerative mortality, and an 18% lower risk of respiratory mortality when compared to those who never or rarely consumed olive oil.
What exactly is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is made from olives, the fruit of the olive tree. Olives are a typical crop of the Mediterranean region. People manufacture olive oil by pressing entire olives.
Also used in cooking, cosmetics, medicine, soaps, and as a fuel for traditional lamps.
Although olive oil originated in the Mediterranean it is now popular all over the world.
In the diet, olives are preserved in olive oil or salted water. They eat them whole or chopped and added to pizzas and other foods.
They can also use olive oil as a dip for bread a dripping on pasta,
in cooking, or as a salad dressing.
Some people take it also by spoonfuls for therapeutic purposes.
Numerous research has conducted to investigate the health advantages of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil, the highest grade oil available is high in antioxidants
which also help prevent cellular damage produced by chemicals known as free radicals.
Also, free radicals are molecules that the body produces during metabolism and other processes. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.
When too many free radicals accumulate, they might induce oxidative stress.
This can cause cell damage and may play a role in the development of certain disorders
including certain types of cancer.
Olive oil and the cardiovascular system
In the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is the primary source of fat. People who follow this diet appear to have a better life expectancy
including a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases when compared to people who follow other diets.
Some experts consider Source to be the “gold standard in preventative medicine.”
A 2018 study examined the number of cardiovascular events among persons
who followed a Mediterranean diet, either with olive oil or nuts, or a low-fat diet.
People who followed the Mediterranean diet, whether with olive oil or nuts
had a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease than those who followed a low-fat diet.
According to the authors of a 2018 analysis, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
and the European Food Safety Authority recommends taking roughly 20 grams (g)
or two tablespoons (tbs) of extra virgin olive oil per day to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammation.
According to the findings of a 2017 study, the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil may offer protection from cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, brain dysfunction, and cancer. Polyphenols are a form of antioxidant.
Obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels are all risk factors for metabolic syndrome.
A 2019 meta-analysis indicated that olive oil in a Mediterranean diet may alleviate metabolic syndrome symptoms such as inflammation, blood sugar, triglycerides (fats in the blood), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. In contrast, it appears to raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol.
Olive oil and depression risk
A rodent study published in 2013 by a reputable source revealed that compounds in extra virgin olive oil
may help protect the nervous system and may be effective in the treatment of sadness and anxiety.
Two years prior, scientists discovered evidence that persons who consumed trans fats,
an unhealthy lipid present in fast foods and prepackaged baked products were more likely to experience depression than those who consumed unsaturated fats, such as olive oil.
Olive oil and cancer risk
According to Trusted Source, olive oil has compounds that may help reduce the risk of breast cancer, however, not all studies support this.
According to a 2019 study released by a reliable source, olive oil includes compounds that may help prevent colorectal cancer. Also, Antioxidants in olive oil have been shown in studies to help protect the body from inflammation, oxidative damage, and epigenetic alterations.
In 2016, several scientists proposed that eating extra virgin olive oil may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. This could be related to its protective effect on blood vessels in the brain.
A rat study released in 2019 revealed that ingesting oleocanthal-rich extra virgin olive oil could help reduce or stop the growth of Alzheimer’s. Also, oleocanthal is a phenolic component found in extra virgin olive oil.
Olive oil and liver
A 2018 assessment of laboratory studies discovered that compounds in extra virgin olive oil may help prevent or heal liver damage.
The oil’s MUFAs, primarily oleic acid and phenolic compounds appear to help reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and other alterations that can lead to liver damage.
Olive oil and inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causes inflammation of the digestive tract. IBD includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Also, according to a 2019 review trusted Source, phenols in olive oil may help increase intestinal immunity and gut health by modifying the bacteria in the stomach. This also could be beneficial to persons suffering from colitis and other types of IBD. More human research, according to the authors, is required to corroborate these findings.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)Trusted Source, 1 tablespoon (tbsp) or 13.5 grams (g) of olive oil provides:
- 119 calories
- 13.5 g of fat, 1.86 g of which is saturated
- 1.9 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E
- 8.13 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K
It also has traces of calcium and potassium, as well as polyphenols, tocopherols, phytosterols, squalene, terpenic acids, and other antioxidants.
When purchasing olive oil, select extra virgin olive oil because it has undergone less processing and is more likely to maintain its antioxidant properties. Extra virgin olive oil has a high smoke point of 376 °F (191 °C), making it suitable for most cooking processes.
The USDA-grade olive oil is also determined by its flavor, odor, lack of faults, and acidity.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) from the United States:
This has a good flavor and aroma, as well as a free fatty acid level of 0.8 g or less per 100g (0.8 percent ).
U.S. Virgin Olive Oil:
This has a pleasant flavor and aroma, as well as a free fatty acid level of 2g or less per 100g (less than 2 percent ).
Without further processing, US Virgin Olive Oil is unfit for human consumption:
This is a virgin oil with a bad flavor and odor. It is not intended for consumption.
US Olive Oil:
This is a blend of virgin and refined oils.
Refined Olive Oil from the United States:
This oil is created from refined oils with some processing constraints.
These are optional grades. Producers not required to label their products.
Manufacturers in several nations, including the United States, use heat and chemicals to remove contaminants from “light” or “extra light” olive oils. In comparison to virgin olive oils, the color and flavor are lighter. Producers may combine light olive oil with other oils.
- Drizzling olive oil on a salad or incorporating it into a salad dressing are two ways to use it.
- Pouring it on newly baked bread using it when preparing bread using it instead of other fats when frying or sautéing
Try the following recipes:
- Flatbread with rosemary and olive oil.
- Spaghetti with olive oil, chili, and garlic
- Poor man’s potatoes
Fry in olive oil
According to a trustworthy Source evaluation released in 2017, frying meals in olive oil may help maintain and even boost its nutritional value. This is because the meal absorbs antioxidants from the oil.