Longevity & Olive Oil. US Study Evidence For Lifespan Impact From Food:
Part of what we do here is a baby-steps approach to the search for The Holy Grail.
We’re looking for proven stuff, even small stuff, that could potentially shift lives onto a better course.
Even if it’s one degree of correction per year.
It’s the same thing that drives amazing researchers like Dr. David Sinclair.
It’s probably no surprise that Harvard researchers have found some more great news about one little thing we could add to our diet each day…
The Short Answer:
- Sometimes you don’t have to get super-nerdy with what you do.
- Maybe there is a way for us all to do something small but better and achieve better results a baby-step at a time.
- When nutrition researchers don’t know what to look for, they check out different parts of the world.
- That’s where we get data on healthy stuff like The Mediterranean Diet.
- Harvard finally got some great olive oil data on US citizens eating our average diet.
- People who had at least 7g (or 1/2 Tbsp) of olive oil/day in their diet had an average of 19% less early-mortality.
- They also had between 17-29% lower risk for other diseases, too.
- Those results were versus people who did not use olive oil at all.
- There was also a lowered risk of early-mortality versus people who used butter, margarine, or other dairy fats.
- Seed & Omega 6 oils did not seem to factor at all.
- This study is really important because it’s the first with US data.
- Most olive oil & longevity studies are done on Europeans with a completely different diet.
- The pathways some speculate it works on get even weirder and more complicated from there.
Read on to find out the details…
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One way to find these improvements is to just admit ignorance, view the world as one big experiment,
And then go find people who have the results you want to see.
Then research scientists try to reverse-engineer what they’re doing and come up with recommendations for the rest of us.
-Which are especially-poignant because the standard Western Diet doesn’t seem to be doing us any favors right now.
It’s full of all the wrong stuff: Omega 6 oils, ultra-processed ingredients, salt, fat, and sugar.
But luckily, our friends in another part of the world are helping us out.
That’s where the current research begins, with potentially the most magical part of the famed Mediterranean Diet,
So in a study of just over 92,000 people in the US, about 2/3 women, 1/3 men,
In the 28 year period between 1990 and 2018,
The Nurses’ Health Study and its follow-up collected, among other things, nutritional data on its subjects.
Harvard researchers then reviewed that info and came up with some great news about oils in home-cooking.
For people who had the highest consumption of about 7g/day (1/2 Tbsp) added to foods, dressings, baking, frying, you name it,
The life-extension results for Olive Oil were pretty encouraging. They were:
1) 19% Lower risk of early-mortality from cardiovascular diseases.
2) 17% Lower risk of dying from cancers.
3) 29% Lower risk of dying from diseases of the brain.
4) 18% Lower risk of early-mortality from breathing related diseases.
5) 19% Lower risk of early-mortality from all causes.
These improvements were measured versus those who either never or rarely used olive oil at all.
Compared to other non-oil fats like butter or margarine, the oil was associated with as much as a 21% average lower risk of early mortality,
(the range was actually all over the place depending on what cause, from 8%-34%)
But strangely-enough there was no reduction in disease or early-mortality versus other oils like corn, canola, sunflower, etc.
-Which is weird, because those are all Omega-6 oils mostly derived from seeds, which should lead to inflammation.
What’s great about this study is has the first US data on a large set, and with people eating the average diet here.
Most of the studies we already have skew closer to The Mediterranean Diet, because the olive oil studies are done in Europe where its consumption is the most consistent.
The other thing that should be noted is that nutritional studies are -super- hard to do to the highest standard.
Because you just can’t get people to stick to a strict diet and be honest about them; you know, without turning them into nutrition-prisoners first.
So, the work was probably done the best way it could ever be short of !ATTICA!, but there are probably more factors at-play than just the oil.
Either way, it’s yet another data point that suggests that improvements in nutrition really can help us live longer and better, even if it shifts the odds a tiny bit at a time.
PS: If you really want to get into the nerdiest weeds about how olive oil might lead to a longer life, check out this post on the olive oil-exercise-fasting pathway. It’s crazy.
• Source: Harvard
• More Coverage: JACC
• Source Study: JACC – Consumption of Olive Oil and Risk of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Among U.S. Adults