How to live longer: The food linked to '19% lower cardiovascular disease mortality risk'

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Having a healthy heart is key when it comes to a reduction of age-related diseases and longevity. Doing all we can to keep the heart healthy is therefore key and includes a variety of daily habits including physical activity, reducing stress and of course diet. When turning to our European neighbours, longevity thrives, and it comes down to one simple ingredient.

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, can help lower blood pressure, strengthen bones and prevent heart disease.

For centuries, olive oil has been highly regarded for its nutritional, medicinal and cosmetic value.

Oleocanthal, the phytonutrient in olive oil, mimics the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation, which can decrease the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence.

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It has also been demonstrated that olive oil has an effect in preventing the formation of blood clots and platelet aggregation.

By avoiding excessive blood coagulation, diets rich in olive oil can reduce the effect of fatty foods in encouraging blood clot formation, thus contributing to the low incidence of heart failure.

Consuming olive oil helps to bolster the immune system against external attacks from microorganisms, bacteria or viruses all aiding in boosting longevity.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that less than 30 percent of our energy intake comes from fats, and that unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils (such as olive, sunflower, canola and soybean oils) are preferable to saturated fats from animal products such as butter, cream, cheese, ghee and lard. 

Specific recommendations for the consumption and use of different types of fat and oil varies between EU countries. 

Some countries quantify amounts or recommend overall categories or specific types of oil. Most say to limit saturated or animal fats and to opt for unsaturated or “high quality” vegetable oils.

Some countries such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Malta, Cyprus and Croatia specify a preference for olive oil. 

Olive oil added to foods rather than burning the liquid on a pan is strongly recommended as when the oil is heated ahead of its smoke point, it gives off toxic smoke. 



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