New Dietary Research Shows Benefits of Olive Oil


On January 10, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) published new findings regarding the impact of consuming olive oil instead of other substances, showing benefits for the cardiovascular system and other areas of health.

This follows new guidelines released in late 2021 by the American Heart Association (AHA) that focus on a total diet. As the new year begins and many people focus on starting and maintaining healthier lifestyle practices, these developments in nutritional research are proving beneficial.

New Research on the Benefits of Olive Oil Consumption

The study reported in JACC compared those who regularly consumed olive oil with people who rarely or never added it to their diet. A total of 60,582 women and 31,801 men were surveyed over a 28-year period in research collected as part of the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. None of the participants had cardiovascular disease or cancer at the start of the studies. Every four years between 1990 and 2018, they were asked about their olive oil consumption.

Research has shown that higher olive oil consumption is associated with a 19% lower mortality risk from cardiovascular disease. This means that deaths from heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia and heart valve problems are less likely to occur.

Additionally, the results showed that 17% fewer cancer deaths occur among those who consume more olive oil. The risk of death from neurodegenerative disease also decreased by 29% among those who regularly use olive oil. Neurodegenerative diseases affect heart function as well as balance, breathing, movement and speech. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, spinal muscular atrophy and other conditions are neurodegenerative diseases.

An 18% reduction in the risk of mortality from respiratory disease was also revealed in the study. Respiratory diseases include asthma, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions.

New dietary guidelines

The AHA guidelines released November 2, 2021 highlight the importance of a diet with 10 characteristics, including diet and lifestyle elements. The guidelines stated that before and during pregnancy, potential mothers and expectant mothers can help influence the health of their unborn children by adhering to a heart-healthy diet. This could limit the possibility of excess weight in their children and reduce the risk of childhood obesity which can harm the body as the child grows. A good diet can also help slow the development of declining memory later in life. Children should learn to eat healthy early in life to develop nutritional habits that will influence their health as they age.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important at all stages of life, and a balance of food intake and physical activity is recommended. The diet states that while most nutrition information on food packaging is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet, certain factors such as age, daily physical activity and gender can alter the exact calorie count. that an individual may need. A consultation with a doctor can help determine the daily caloric needs of a particular person. Physical activity is part of the equation and you should aim to expend as many calories as you consume.

While the study reported in JACC focused on the benefits of olive oil, it is imperative to refine a diet to emphasize other types of healthy foods. It is well known that avoiding processed foods, added sugars, excess salt, alcohol and tobacco is good for the heart and other parts of the body.

The 2021 AHA guidelines also recommend reducing reliance on dietary supplements and opting instead for foods that will provide the same nutrients. Among them are a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and lean or high-fiber proteins. Examples are nuts and legumes, fish, low-fat and fat-free dairy products.

It is also helpful to limit red meat and ensure that the cuts of meat eaten are lean. It should be noted that some plant-based diets may increase carbohydrates and sugar which can be harmful, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The elements contained in certain foods should be taken into account if a particular emphasis on a group of plants is chosen as the basis of a dietary program.

A physician should be consulted before beginning any diet and exercise program.

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Do you have questions about your heart health? Ask Dr. Haqqani.

If you have questions about your cardiovascular health, including heart, blood pressure, stroke lifestyle and other issues, we want to answer them. Please submit your questions to Dr. Haqqani via email at [email protected]

Omar P. Haqqani is the Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Midland Vascular Health Clinics.


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