New evidence supports the health benefits of olive oil consumption

Regular consumption of this important component of the Mediterranean Diet is associated with reduced mortality, not only from cardiovascular diseases but also from cancer. This is according to a study conducted by the Joint Platform Umberto Veronesi Foundation - I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed which analyzed the data of over twenty thousand participants in the Moli-sani study

Recent research within the UMBERTO Project, conducted by the Joint Platform of the Umberto Veronesi Foundation ETS – Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed of Pozzilli (IS), in collaboration with the Mediterranean Cardiac Center of Naples and the LUM University “Giuseppe Degennaro” of Casamassima (BA), underscores the health benefits of including olive oil in the diet.

The study reveals that olive oil consumption is linked to a significant reduction in mortality not only from cardiovascular diseases but also from cancer.

The study

Published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this research analyzed data from nearly 23,000 Italian adults, both men and women, who participated in the Moli-sani epidemiological study and were followed for more than 12 years. Detailed information on their dietary consumption was available for all participants.

Emilia Ruggiero, the study’s lead author and a researcher funded by the Umberto Veronesi Foundation ETS at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at IRCCS Neuromed, stated:

“The benefits of olive oil consumption are well-documented in the literature, especially regarding cardiovascular health. However, little is known about the effects of olive oil in relation to cancer, and most of the available data comes from non-Mediterranean populations. That’s why we wanted to investigate the role of this staple food of the Mediterranean Diet in relation to cancer mortality, using data from the Moli-sani study, one of the largest population cohorts in Europe.”

Marialaura Bonaccio, Co-Principal Investigator of the Joint Platform, explained: “The study’s findings confirm the health benefits of regular olive oil consumption for cardiovascular health, which is associated with a reduction of one-fourth in deaths due to cardiovascular diseases. But the most interesting data is that, compared to consuming less than a tablespoon and a half, the daily intake of olive oil in amounts equal to or greater than three tablespoons (1 tablespoon corresponds to about 0.35 ounces of oil) is associated with a similar reduction (23%) in the risk of cancer mortality.”

Maria Benedetta Donati, Principal Investigator of the Joint Platform, added:

“These are data that suggest very interesting hypotheses. In fact, the reduction in cancer mortality appears to be explained, albeit partially, by an improvement in the profile of some risk factors typically associated with cardiovascular diseases. It is a hypothesis that fascinates many researchers: different chronic diseases such as cancer and heart attacks might share the same risk factors and molecular mechanisms. In other terms, there might be a ‘common soil’ from which these diseases originate.”

Further studies and analysis are certainly needed, but these data highlight once again the importance of integrating olive oil into our daily dietary habits.

Source: Nature

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
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