A new study published on Tuesday says that substituting olive oil for butter and other saturated fats could improve your health and extend your lifespan by years.
Researchers found that people who have over half a tablespoon of olive oil a day are less likely to succumb to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, lung disease, and cancer.
Study author Marta Guasch-Ferre, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says that building a strong, preventative diet is a complex process but olive oil is a great foundation:
“We need to pay attention to overall diet quality and lifestyle, and consistent with our results, the key would be to add olive oil into the diet as a substitution of other unhealthier fats.”
Olive oil is famous for being full of healthy nutrients like antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamins, as well as healthy monounsaturated fats.
“One may speculate that mechanisms related to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of olive oil may have played a role in these findings,” Guasch-Ferre explained.
The study involved analyzing data from over 90,000 people included in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who did not have heart disease and cancer at the start of the study in 1990. Researchers then collected data from these participants over the course of 28 years, asking them to report their eating habits every four years.
Participants who ingested over half a tablespoon of olive oil a day had a 19% lower risk of suffering from fatal heart disease, a 17% lower risk of succumbing to cancer, a 29% lower risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease, and an 18% chance of developing fatal lung disease.
The researchers then created models to simulate the effect of someone substituting a 3/4 tablespoon of butter, mayonnaise, and margarine with olive oil. They found that the swap lead to a dramatic reduction in the chances of dying from each disease.
Greece is world-famous for its olive oil
Greek olive oil is synonymous with Greek tradition, as well as its healthy diet and its rich history. The “Liquid Gold” of the country, as Homer called it, is an irreplaceable nutritional component for every Greek person.
Ancient Greeks consumed olive oil for a healthy, long life — both as food, or as an essential treatment for the skin and hair.
Today, olives and olive oil are staples in a Greek home, where they are used in salads or as an essential ingredient in much of Greek cuisine.
Of course, now Greek olive oil is exported to and consumed in all parts of the world and many connoisseurs consider it to be the best there is.
Olive trees and their precious fruits were cultivated as far back as 4000 BC, according to botanist Augustin Pyrame de Candole and his book “Origin des Plantes Cultivees.”
The botanist traces the origin of the cultivation of the olive tree to the coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean, basing his conclusion on the existence of self-sown wild olive tree vegetation, ancient texts and archaeological excavation findings.
In 1951, Greek archaeologist Panagiotis Anagnostopoulos, who did extensive excavations in Knossos, claimed that the origin of the olive tree actually lies on the island of Crete.
According to Anagnostopoulos’ research, the cultivation of olive trees on Greek soil first began in Crete 3,500 years ago, in the Early Minoan era.
According to some historians, the Greeks were the first people to cultivate olive trees in the European Mediterranean area. This knowledge was transported by either Greek settlers or Phoenician merchants.
Ancient Greek tradition has the homeland of the olive tree to be in Athens and the first olive tree in the world is said to have been planted by the goddess of wisdom, Athena, on Acropolis Hill.