Those who consume a high amount of olive oil may be at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has revealed new evidence suggesting that replacing 10 grams/day of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and dairy fat with the equivalent amount of olive oil is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, cancer mortality, neurodegenerative disease mortality, and respiratory disease mortality.
The study used participants from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Researchers examined 60,582 women and 31,801 men who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at the start of the study.
During 28 years of follow-up, participants’ diet was assessed by a questionnaire every four years. It recorded how often they consumed specific foods, types of fats and oils, along with which brand or type of oils they used for cooking.
Researchers found that olive oil consumption increased from 1.6 grams/day in 1990 to about 4 grams/day in 2010, while margarine consumption decreased from about 12 grams/day to 4 grams/day in 2010. The consumption of other fats remained stable.
Participants who consumed the most olive oil were found to have a 19% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, 17% lower risk of cancer mortality, 29% lower risk of neurodegenerative mortality, and 18% lower risk of respiratory mortality. The study also found that those who substituted 10 grams/day of other fats with olive oil had an 8-34% lower risk of total and cause-specific mortality. No significant associations were found when substituting olive oil for other vegetable oils.
Study author Guasch-Ferre 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.”
More research is needed to follow up on the associations between olive oil and specific health effects, as some questions still remain. Researchers hope to find if olive oil consumption is protective for certain cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and atrial fibrillation, only or also for other major diseases and causes of death.
Making a few adjustments to your daily diet can significantly impact cardiovascular health. This study shows how simply switching from another type of fat to olive oil can be beneficial for heart health.
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