When it comes to preparing foods, there are plenty of options for oil on the market to use in cooking. We hear a lot about the health benefits of olive oil, coconut oil and grapeseed oil. There are also concerns with using less healthy options such as soybean, sunflower and vegetable oil blends. And most definitely you want to stay away from shortening, margarine and other partially hydrogenated oils due to their damaging trans-fat content.
If you had to choose though, which oil would give you the most benefit while offering the least amount of risk? The answer has most commonly been olive oil in recent years, and more research continues to surface to support that assertion. A new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2020 revealed that consumption of olive oil was associated with up to a 7% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
Sometimes people still get a little “fat phobic” and want to slash fats from their diet, incorrectly thinking more fat will automatically make them fat. Not true, as long as you are keeping your total calories at or slightly less than what your body need to maintain a healthy weight. Some people actually do better adding MORE fat to their diet, especially if it is replacing unhealthy foods that are high in processed carbohydrates and sugars.
While this study wasn’t focused on adding fats, it did show that by replacing a mere five grams of margarine, butter or mayonnaise with the same amount of olive oil, there was an associated lower risk of coronary artery disease up to 7%. Right along with that, they also saw that people who used even higher olive oil intake — more than seven grams, or 1/2 tablespoon a day — had a 15% lower risk of any kind of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
A prior study from 2013 with over 7000 participants showed that those who followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil for five years had a 30% lower risk of heart attack or stroke. Good news all around if you’ve been on the olive oil bandwagon for some time now. It was also reinforced by the study author that one should not just simply add olive oil to their regular diet. Substitution is the key here, replacing less healthy fat choices with a better one.
If you’re really not sure how to best structure your diet, we can offer some assistance with that. Understanding your body type, how you digest and process your foods, and how your blood sugars best stay balanced are all factors that need to be evaluated. With that information, an ideal diet can be built to best support your body and brain, keep your immune system strong, and help you maintain an ideal weight as part of your overall lifestyle plan.
And it looks like having olive oil as part of your diet would be a heart-healthy decision.