Healthy Eating

Olive oil reduces risk of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s disease!

Olive oil

Ancient Greeks used to consume olive oil and called it the elixir of youth and health. Modern research has also shown it to possess health benefits. A study published in early 2022 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology confirmed the positive health aspects of this oil.

Olive oil and its health benefits: the study

This oil is the best oil and even ancient Greeks had accepted this fact. They used to call it the elixir of youth and health. Later, several studies done on it confirmed that it has great benefits for cardiovascular health.

Olive oil
Oil from green olives (Source: GreenDNA)

A 2020 study had said that half a tablespoon of olive oil daily can decrease risk of heart diseases. And now the Journal of the American College of Cardiology published an article this year that highlighted the valuable role of this oil for the body. The article states that those who had more than half a tablespoon of this oil daily had lowered risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and other deaths compared to that in people who consumed zero or less of this same oil. Dr. Frank Hu, the study’s senior author from the department of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston says:

Olive oil is the hallmark of the Mediterranean diet, and its link to lower mortality is well established in southern European countries. But this is the first long-term study to show such a health benefit here in the U.S.,”

The olive plant and oil grades

This oil comes from the fruit of the olive tree. This is native mainly in the Mediterranean regions for the last more than 5000 years. Spain produces the largest amount of this oil in the world. After this, rank Italy and Greece. This oil reached the shores of California in the 18th century when Spanish missionaries brought them there for plantation purpose.

They are grown now over 40000 acres of land in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, and also in Oregon. Americans consume around 90 million gallons of olive oil annually. But American Olive Oil Producers Association says that 95% of it is imported.

Olive oil
Oil of green olives (Source: Medical news today)

There are many grades of olive oil from regular to extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO). EVOO is main fat source in the Mediterranean diet and the healthiest too. American Heart Association recommends it to prevent cardiovascular disease. This extract is without any further refinement. On the other hand, regular oil from olives is refined, bleached, and deodorized. Later it is mixed with 5% to 15% EVOO.

Olive oil has the highest amount of monounsaturated fats. This lowers bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL in the blood. It lowers blood pressure and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The study limitations

However, the study did not differentiate between the different grades of this oil. But the researchers plan to correlate the benefits with the type of this oil too in the future. Frank added:

Olive oil is a much healthier replacement for dietary fats, especially animal fats,”

Read more: 6 ‘Greek foods’ found in Greek restaurants that are not eaten in Greece!

Olive oil
Regular olive oil vs EVOO (Source: Timperio)

Other vegetable oil are also good such as safflower canola, soybean, sunflower, corn etc. EVOO is expensive. Hence it should be used solely for salad dressing. It has a strong aroma and flavor and it makes the food tasty. Reserve the flavorless canola for baking foods. Use other oils for sauteing, frying, marination etc.