Does Just a Spoonful of Olive Oil Help Your Diabetes Risk Go Down?

Consuming more than a tablespoon of olive oil per day may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study looked at data from 59,930 women, aged 37 to 65, and 85,157 women, aged 26 to 45, who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study I and II, respectively. All of the women were free from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer when they enrolled in the study. The women answered food-frequency questionnaires every four years for twenty-two years, which the researchers analyzed for olive oil intake. Occurrences of type 2 diabetes were identified through self-reporting. At the end of the study, researchers found that:

  • Consuming more than a tablespoon of olive oil per day was associated with a 10% decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Each additional tablespoon of olive oil consumed per day was associated with a 6% further drop in diabetes risk.
  • Olive oil consumed in food or on bread had a stronger association with diabetes risk reduction than olive oil consumed in salad dressing.

The findings from this study add to the evidence that olive oil may help women avoid diabetes. Olive oil, as a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, is thought to be one major reason for the diet’s association with reduced risks of heart disease, dementia, and you guessed it—diabetes. Since many recipes call for a few tablespoons of olive oil, whether it’s for sautéing or adding flavor, it should be no problem (and perhaps, even a delight) to boost your olive oil intake. And of course, if a recipe calls for butter, you can nearly always swap it out for olive oil.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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