20/04/2020

The protective qualities of olive oil are demonstrated in a population from the United States

Researchers from the URV, the Universidad de Navarra and the CIBEROBN have analysed more than 90,000 patients over 30years

A study of 90,000 patients over 30 years in the United States has shown the benefits to cardiovascular health of the long-term consumption of olive oil. The study, led by researchers from the URV, the Universidad de Navarra and the CIBEROBN in collaboration with Harvard University, has demonstrated that consuming an extra half a teaspoon of olive oil led to a relative 18% reduction in heart attacks (with a margin of error of between 9% and 27%), independently of other factors. The results of this study have been published by the American Cardiology Society.

It is the first large study to evaluate the population of the United States in relation to the long term consumption of olive oil and cardiovascular disease (myocardial or cerebral infarctions). The research team, involving Jordi Salas-Salvadó, head of the Human Nutrition Unit at the URV, analysed 30 years of nutritional and lifestyle data from more than 90,000 volunteers (61,000 women and 32,000 men), among whom there were 9,797 cases of serious cardiovascular disease.

The researchers did not find a difference between normal olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil, despite other studies finding that extra-virgin olive oil is more effective at preventing cardiovascular disease, probably due to its antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and other bioactive compounds.

According to the researchers, this new study provides further evidence of the health benefits of substituting animal and saturated fats with any type of olive oil. One interesting aspect is the comparison between different types of fat. For example, the study found that substituting butter, mayonnaise or cream for olive oil effectively reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular diseases.

Olive oil, an ideal culinary fat

Previous research into the effects of olive oil on health had primarily been carried out on Mediterranean populations. This latest study has demonstrated that the results that have been observed for many years in Spain are replicated in subjects from the United States. These results show that all types of olive oil are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and this leads the researchers to assert that the product is an ideal culinary fat.

Earlier studies such as the PREDIMED trial, carried out with extra-virgin olive oil, already pointed to the findings that have been found in this population from the United States for all types of olive oil and are helping researchers to draw up guidelines for healthy nutrition.

Reference: Marta Guasch-Ferré, Gang Liu, Yanping Li, Laura Sampson, JoAnn E.Manson, Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Miguel A. Martínez-González, Meir J. Stampfer, Walter C. Willett, Qi Sun, Frank B. Hu. Olive Oil Consumption and Cardiovascular Risk in U.S. Adults https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.02.036


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