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Unsaturated Olive Oil Better Than Butter Any Day to Live Longer: Study

Researchers have found that higher intake of saturated and trans-fats leads to early death whereas replacing the same with unsaturated fats from plant-based foods like olive oil, canola oil and soybean oil can stem this danger.

The team from Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in the US found that replacing saturated fats like butter, lard and fat in red meat with unsaturated fats from plant-based foods with unsaturated fats conferred substantial health benefits. "This study documents important benefits of unsaturated fats, especially when they replace saturated and trans fats," said Dong Wang from the Harvard School.

The study included 126,233 participants who had answered survey questions every 2-4 years spanning over 30 years and during the follow-up, 33,304 deaths were documented. When examined, the relationship between types of fats and overall deaths, especially those due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and respiratory disease show the difference clearly, said researchers.

Every time they added 2% higher intake of trans fats, it was found to be triggering a 16% higher chance of premature death during the study period. Every 5% increase in saturated fat intake was associated with an 8% higher risk of overall mortality, researchers said.

On the contrary, intake of high amounts of unsaturated fats, both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, resulted in 11% and 19% lower overall mortality compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrates, they said.

Among the polyunsaturated fats, both omega-6, found in most plant oils, and omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and soy and canola oils, were associated with lower risk of premature death, they said.

"Our study shows the importance of eliminating trans fat and replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats, including both omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids," said Frank Hu from Harvard Chan School. "In practice, this can be achieved by replacing animal fats with a variety of liquid vegetable oils," said Hu.

Even previous studies by this institute have found that whole grains may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and poor gut health, among other conditions, eventually enhancing the lifespan. Mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a particular population for a specific period of time.

The researchers recommended that people choose foods that are high in whole grain ingredients—such as bran, oatmeal, and quinoa—that have at least 16 grams per serving, while reducing consumption of unhealthy refined carbohydrates.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Japanese have a longer life expectancy not merely due to good food but also because of their commune and happier life-style. A 2016 study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that Japanese adults who followed government advice regarding food intake had lower rates of mortality than those who didn’t.

More than that, since 1961 Japan has had universal healthcare, with equal and universal access to healthcare for all, through a health insurance scheme.

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