In addition, replacing margarine, butter, mayonnaise and dairy fat with an equivalent amount of olive oil was associated with an 8%-34% lower risk of total and cause-specific mortality.
In an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Susanna Larsson, an epidemiologist at Uppsala University in Sweden, called the association with lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s “a novel finding.”
“Considering the lack of preventive strategies for Alzheimer’s disease and the high morbidity and mortality related to this disease, this finding, if confirmed, is of great public health importance,” Larsson said.
Study author Marta Guasch-Ferré, a research scientist in the nutrition department at Harvard, told USA Today that a good target for daily olive oil consumption is 3-4 tablespoons daily. That will help you reduce the amount of butter, mayonnaise and other animal fats used in cooking.
“At home, we almost always use olive oil for everything,” she said. “We use it for baking, to dress vegetables and salads and it is even a good option for frying.”
In the meantime, she told the news organization, those seeking to improve their lifestyle can include olive oil but should consider it in context.
“We need to pay attention to have an overall healthy dietary pattern that is full of plant-based food, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, healthy fats such as olive oil or nuts, healthy moderate protein intake (eggs, fish, poultry),” Guasch-Ferré said.
Concurrently, you can decrease the risk of disease by cutting consumption of processed meat, other processed foods, sugary drinks and desserts. “Also, other lifestyle factors such as not smoking (and) physical activity, play an important role,” she said.