Using olive oil instead of butter linked to lower risk of heart disease

·2-min read

Using olive oil instead of butter and other dairy products in cooking can be very beneficial for heart health.

The benefits of consuming olive oil and abiding by a Mediterranean diet are well known, with U.S. researchers now also reporting that replacing about 10 grams per day of margarine, butter, mayonnaise and dairy fat with the equivalent amount of olive oil is associated with a lower risk of death.

In addition, the experts claimed that consuming around half a tablespoon of olive oil per day was linked with a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and respiratory disease mortality.

"Our findings support current dietary recommendations to increase the intake of olive oil and other unsaturated vegetable oils," said Dr. Marta Guasch-Ferré, a senior research scientist at the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "Clinicians should be counselling patients to replace certain fats, such as margarine and butter, with olive oil to improve their health. Our study helps make more specific recommendations that will be easier for patients to understand and hopefully implement into their diets."

The researchers based their findings on results from a 1990 study involving over 90,000 people that ran over 28 years. Participants with higher olive oil consumption were often more physically active, had Southern European or Mediterranean ancestry, were less likely to smoke and had a greater consumption of fruits and vegetables compared to those with lower olive oil consumption.

"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," Dr. Guasch-Ferré added.

Full study results have been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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