Olive oil intake has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Mediterranean populations, but little is known about these associations in the U.S population.
..During 24 years of follow-up, we documented 9,797 incident cases of CVD, including 6,034 CHD cases and 3,802 stroke cases. After adjusting for major diet and lifestyle factors, compared with non-consumers, those with higher olive oil intake (>1/2 tablespoon/d or >7g/d) had 14% lower risk of CVD [pooled HR (95% CI): 0.86 (0.79, 0.94)] and 18% lower risk of CHD [pooled HR (95% CI): 0.82 (0.73, 0.91)]. No significant associations were observed for total or ischemic stroke. Replacing 5g/d of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, or dairy fat with the equivalent amount of olive oil was associated with 5-7% lower risk of total CVD and CHD. No significant associations were observed when olive oil was compared with other plant oils combined. In a subset of participants, higher olive oil intake was associated with lower levels of circulating inflammatory biomarkers and a better lipid profile.
Conclusions Higher olive oil intake was associated with lower risk of CHD and total CVD in two large prospective cohorts of U.S. men and women. The substitution of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and dairy fat with olive oil could lead to lower risk of CHD and CVD.