It’s long been known that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest overall diets. Now, research shines new light on the ways that one of the diet’s main components — olive oil — helps boost heart health.
In a recent analysis of long-term data by researchers of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, it was found that eating more than 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil per day lowers one’s risk of cardiovascular disease by 15 percent and the risk of coronary heart disease by 21 percent.
While consumption of olive oil has been associated with improved heart health for years, the new research shows these associations with a U.S.-based population for the first time. The data dates back to 1990 and includes data from 63,867 women.
Olive oil is a simple, healthier replacement for other animal-based fats such as margarine, butter, and mayonnaise. But while replacing animal fats with healthier alternatives such as olive oil is a strong step towards improved cardiovascular health, it’s hardly the be-all and end-all. Good heart health also includes physical activity, a balanced diet and, ideally, visits with a doctor to stay on track.