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Olive oil cuts cancer and heart disease risk

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Consuming half a tablespoon of olive oil every day reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer.

It reduces your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease by 19 percent and from cancer by 17 percent.  You’re also 29 percent less likely to suffer neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, and your risk of dying from respiratory disease is also 18 percent lower.

You also get an extra health boost if you replace margarine for an extra serving of olive oil, say researchers from Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health.

Adding olive oil to salads or as a dip—or even drinking it neat—add up to the optimum daily intake of 7 grams, equivalent to half a tablespoon.

Tracking the health of 92,000 men and women for 28 years, the researchers discovered that those consuming the most olive oil were the least likely to develop heart disease or cancer.  But it was also part of a bigger picture, and those consuming the most olive oil were also more physically active, were less likely to be smokers and ate more fruits and vegetables.

Around 5 percent of the participants were consuming an average of 9 grams of oil every day.

The researchers can’t be sure if olive oil has a protective effect on its own or whether it’s a marker of a generally healthier lifestyle and diet.

(Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2022; 79: 101-112)

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