Olive oil lowers risk of mortality, American College of Cardiology study finds

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AUTHOR: Fiona Holland

Consuming half a tablespoon of olive oil a day could reduce chances of developing neurodigenerative diseases by 29% according to a recent study by the American College of Cardiology.

The study tracked around 90,000 healthy people living in the US between 1990 and 2018, analysing the health of those who rarely consume olive oil with those who make it a regular part of their everyday diet.

The result of their findings was that those consuming olive oil on a regular basis were 29% less likely to die from neurodegenerative diseases.

Furthermore, 19% had less chance of dying from cardiovascular disease, while 17% were not as likely to die from cancer, and 18% had a lower chance of dying from a respiratory disease.

This research comes at a time when the Italian Antitrust is starting an investigation into the use of the Nutri-Score food-labelling system.

Italy in particular has been critical of Nutri-Score for its grouping together of products that are high in fat, sugar and salt irrespectively of their formulation, overall ingredients and other nutritional values. This is mainly due to the fact that 85% of the country’s traditional produce includes goods which would score poorly on the colour-coded labelling system, such as cured meats, cheeses and olive oil, penalising their sales and exports.

The Antitrust’s investigation will look at the use of Nutri-Score labelling in five food and drink organisations: Italy’s GS Spa, Carrefour Italia Spa, Pescanova Italia Srl and Valsoia SpA, French companies Diet Lab Sas and Regime Dukan Sas, English company Weetabix Ltd. and a German confectionary company.

President of Unaprol, Italy’s olive oil consortium, David Granieri, told the European Food Agency: “These studies are heartening to us, at a time when we are fighting fundamental battles, such as the one against Nutri-Score, to protect our high quality extra virgin olive oil.

“The chemical and organoleptic characteristics of foods such as extra virgin olive oil, thanks to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, make the Mediterranean diet unique.

“For this reason we have the duty to continue to spread the knowledge of the quality product for a more aware and to enhance the extraordinary work of producers”.

At the start of this year, a research group of scientists, nutritionists and doctors working with US News & World Report marked the Mediterranean diet – a cuisine rich in vegetables, fruit, fish, olive oil and legumes, traditionally consumed in countries like Italy, Spain and Greece – as the Best Overall Diet for the fifth year in a row.

The diet has been commended for its ability to help reduce the chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol.

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