A study has found that consuming half a tablespoon of staple in the kitchen per day can reduce the risk of dying from heart disease or cancer.
Olive oil is known to be part of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered to have many health benefits.
People who eat more vegetables, fish, fruits, nuts and whole grains are said to be healthier and live longer.
But experts looked at the diets of 90,000 people and found that if they included a rich spice in their meals, they reduced their risk of premature death.
Volunteers were asked about their food intake every four years, including their use of olive oil.
This is covered if they use it for salad dressings, add it to foods or sandwiches and use it for baking and frying.
The study lasted 28 years, during which 36,856 people died.
It found that people who ate more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day had a 19% lower risk of death than those who didn’t.
They also found a 19 percent lower death rate from heart disease and a 17 percent lower risk of dying from cancer.
Compared with people who never or rarely had olive oil in their food, those who did so had an 18% lower risk of dying from respiratory diseases.
They were also 29% less likely to die from diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Dr Marta Guasch-Ferré, lead author of the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, said: “Our findings support current dietary recommendations for increasing weight gain. 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 their health.”
And Dr Marta Guasch-Ferré said: “It is possible that higher olive oil consumption is an indicator of an overall healthy diet and higher socioeconomic status.
“However, even after adjusting for these and other socioeconomic status factors, our results largely remained the same.”
It is thought that an advantage may come from people using olive oil instead of fatter products like butter or mayo.
Like when research looked at what would happen if you replaced about 3/4 tablespoon butter with olive oil every day, it showed that this reduced the risk of premature death by 14%.
Olive oil is made by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil.
There are different grades, depending on how it is pressed and if it includes solvents – with the superpure being the purest and arguably the healthiest form.
It is not known exactly why it seems to be more successful than other oils in reducing the risk of cancer and heart problems.
But it is thought it may have something to do with the monounsaturated fatty acids in the oil.
Monounsaturated fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood – which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
They also provide nutrients to help grow and maintain your body’s cells.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8186203/condiment-slash-cancer-heart-disease-risk/ Popular spice may reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease