Scientists have found just how good for the body olive oil is and how even consuming it in moderation can provide health benefits.
Their research shows that just two tablespoons of olive oil can almost half your risk of dying from heart disease, while the equivalent of one tablespoon cuts the risk by around 28%.
The results are based on the diets of nearly 41,000 adults in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, which began over 20 years ago.
British experts have said the results showed that olive oil, a large part of the Mediterranean diet which is rich in fish, fruit and vegetables, played an even bigger part in preventing heart disease than first thought.
Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and polyphenols, compounds that can dampen inflammation in the body and possibly reduce the risk of clots.
Spanish researchers studied data on the eating habits of 40,622 men and women between 29 and 69, tracking them for 13 years to see what effect olive oil had on death rates.
The data showed that heart death victims were among the lowest consumers of olive oil.
Those who got through 29g or more a day – just over two tablespoons – were 44% less likely to die from cardiac problems.
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