Consuming Olive Oil May Reduce Mortality Risk in U.S. Adults

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Replacing butter, margarine, mayonnaise, dairy fat with olive oil linked to reductions in total, cause-specific mortality

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Higher olive oil intake is associated with reduced risks for total and cause-specific mortality, according to a study published in the Jan. 18 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Marta Guasch-Ferré, Ph.D., from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined whether olive oil intake is associated with total and cause-specific mortality among 60,582 women (Nurses’ Health Study, 1990 to 2018) and 31,801 men (Health Professionals Follow-up Study, 1990 to 2018) who were free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline. A semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire was completed every four years to assess diet.

The researchers found there were 36,856 deaths during 28 years of follow-up. Compared with those who never or rarely consumed olive oil, participants with the highest consumption of olive oil (>0.5 tablespoon or >7 g/day) had a multivariable-adjusted pooled hazard ratio of 0.81 for all-cause mortality. Higher olive oil intake was also associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease mortality, cancer mortality, neurodegenerative disease mortality, and respiratory disease mortality (hazard ratios, 0.81, 0.83, 0.71, and 0.82, respectively). Replacing 10 g/day of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and dairy fat with an equivalent amount of olive oil was associated with an 8 to 34 percent lower risk for total and cause-specific mortality in substitution analyses.

“Our results support current dietary recommendations to increase the intake of olive oil and other unsaturated vegetable oils in place of other fats to improve overall health and longevity,” the authors write.

One author received the virgin olive oil that was used in the interventions from the Patrimonio Communal Olivalero and Hojiblanca SA.

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