Old Women Gathering in Plaza Corredera, Cordoba | Photo: Michael Cohen

While we know that olive oil can protect from various chronic diseases, there isn’t much research on its association with mortality. In other words can the consumption of olive oil reduce the risk of death? Spanish researchers set out to answer this question by examining the association between olive oil and mortality in the Spanish population with over 40,000 participants.

The participants were from the Spanish sub-group of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Spain), a cohort study of the relationships between diet and cancer, as well as other chronic diseases, taking place in 10 European countries.

Information was gathered from men and women aged 29-69 years old, from 5 Spanish regions. The researchers analyzed the association between olive oil and overall mortality as well as mortality from specific causes such as cardiovascular disease.

After 13 years, researchers followed up with the participants and found that individuals who consumed olive oil had a lower mortality. More specifically, individuals who consumed the most olive oil had a 44 percent reduction in mortality due to heart disease and a 26 percent reduction of overall mortality compared to those who did not consume any olive oil.

So now we know that olive oil in the diet decreases the chances of dying from all causes but especially from cardiovascular disease. This study provides further evidence that replacing the fat in your diet with olive oil has a protective effect.

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