The researchers pulled data from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which looked at more than 60,000 women and more than 31,000 men with healthy hearts. The participants were asked about their dietary choices every four years, over the course of 28 years.
When comparing the type of cooking fat each participant used, as well as the frequency of use, researchers concluded that eating more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day supports cardiovascular health outcomes (19%), cognitive function (29%), respiratory health (18%), and longevity. Additionally, those who replaced margarine, butter, mayonnaise and dairy fat with olive oil had greater health outcomes.
It’s important to note: participants with the highest olive oil intake were also physically active, avoided smoking, and ate a lot of fruits and vegetables. “It’s possible that higher olive oil consumption is a marker of an overall healthier diet and higher socioeconomic status,” study author Marta Guasch-Ferré, Ph.D., said in a news release. “However, even after adjusting for these and other social economic status factors, our results remained largely the same.”
So, while the results shine a positive light on olive oil, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between olive oil consumption, overall health, and longevity.