Extra virgin olive oil is good for you, this fact is well known. But how much do you have to take a day to stay healthy? Perhaps we would be led to believe that we have to take large quantities and instead… it seems that half a spoon of olive oil is already enough, and therefore an amount that can be easily and without problems included in one's daily diet. This emerges from a very recent scientific research published by the prestigious Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health of Boston in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Guasch Ferrè et al, J. Am. Coll. Cardiol., 2022).
The benefits of extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is also called liquid gold as it is rich in properties for health. This condiment is one of the pillars of the Mediterranean Diet and determines several benefits thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action. But how much should you take to see health benefits? And above all, is it possible to quantify these benefits? Harvard researchers have managed to answer these questions.
Here is how much extra virgin olive oil to take to protect health, the study
Scientists drew on the data of an almost thirty-year study started in 1990 and which involved more than 90,000 people. The volunteers were subjected, every four years from the date of recruitment, to questionnaires and tests to assess the state of health and eating habits. What emerged was that those who consumed 7 grams of extra virgin olive oil a day, about half a tablespoon, had a 19% lower risk of mortality due to cardiovascular events compared to those who consumed less than 5 grams. But benefits were also observed against tumors and respiratory diseases, with a risk of death up to 18% lower in those who regularly consumed at least half a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. As for neurodegenerative diseases, the consumption of at least half a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil a day has led to a 30% reduction in the risk of death. Also very interesting is the observation made by scientists according to which the simple replacement of 10 grams of margarine, butter or mayonnaise with extra virgin olive oil leads to a reduction in mortality of up to 34%. In any case, it must be said that, as regards the experiment, those who consumed at least half a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil a day also followed a healthier and more active lifestyle that, therefore, certainly contributes to explaining the incredible results observed.
Green light to extra virgin olive oil then! But always within a lifestyle that includes moderate physical activity and a healthy and balanced diet. And for those who fear that it may cause overweight, this article clearly demonstrates that even if taken in modest quantities, half a tablespoon a day, extra virgin olive oil has very important health benefits and protection on the brain, heart and entire organism, counteracting cellular degeneration, but also respiratory infections and dementias.