Move over resveratrol, this healthy fat fights aging better

In the past couple of decades, we’ve totally flipped the script on fats…

Dietary fat used to be the scapegoat for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, premature aging — you name it. All the bad things got blamed on fat.

Now we know the opposite is true… eating fat is one of the best things you can do to stay young and healthy. In fact, healthy fats may even top antioxidants as the most effective nutrient for fending off disease and aging.

I know that’s a bold claim considering antioxidants are powerful compounds proven again and again to decrease disease risk and ward off the oxidative stress that contributes to physical aging. But I’m feeling bold. And here’s why…

A new study found that the fat in olive oil may be the reason the Mediterranean diet increases your lifespan.

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Olive oil is the shining star of the Mediterranean diet… but there’s a catch

Whether you’ve tried the Mediterranean diet yourself or not, I’m sure you’ve heard good things about it. Study after study shows this diet can reduce your risk of age-related diseases like heart disease, dementia, and diabetes and lengthen your lifespan.

Now, for a long time, researchers gave the credit for these amazing benefits to a powerful antioxidant in red wine, berries, and grapes — resveratrol. But now they’re taking back all the accolades they gave to resveratrol and giving them to olive oil instead. Why?

Related: 5 healthy cooking oils and how to use them in the kitchen

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School performed a study that found olive oil activated a certain pathway in cells known to increase lifespan and prevent aging-related diseases… the same pathway researchers used to believe resveratrol activated.

The study was performed on animals and in test tubes, so researchers still have to figure out how it translates to humans. But if it does, it could mean that olive oil is the shining star of the Mediterranean diet.

But there’s a catch…

Olive oil only has its disease-fighting, age-defending powers if it’s combined with fasting, calorie-cutting and/or exercising. Let me explain how it works…

Researchers found that the fat in olive oil gets stored in lipid droplets in our cells (lipid droplets are like little fat storage containers). When you fast, exercise or cut calories, the fat gets broken down and signals that pathway I mentioned earlier that increases lifespan and prevents age-related diseases. So, if you have the fat, but it doesn’t get broken down, you don’t get the same benefits. That’s why you need exercise or a calorie reduction too.

Eat more olive oil… Mediterranean diet or not

Most people who switch to the Mediterranean diet automatically get the age and disease-defying benefits of olive oil. Why?

Because people tend to move to the Mediterranean diet from less healthy diets that include junk and processed foods. When they start eating mostly fresh, whole foods, they eat fewer calories… Whether they intentionally cut calories or not. People on the Mediterranean diet are also trying to live a healthy lifestyle, which usually means they’re exercising already too.

But if you’re not interested in going fully Monty Mediterranean, based on this study, you could hypothetically reap the disease and aging benefits of the Mediterranean diet just by eating more olive oil… as long as you watch your calorie intake and exercise. Just buy a bottle of EVOO, download a calorie counting app and call it a day.

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You should know, however, that extra virgin olive oil is best eaten raw. You can drizzle it over salads and other dishes. You can even add a tablespoon or two to a smoothie without affecting the taste.

But because it has a low smoke point — 325 to 375 degrees F. — it starts to oxidize or break down if cooked at this temperature and loses some of its health benefits. If you want to cook with olive oil, use pure olive oil, which can withstand the heat a little better.

Editor’s Note:
If you just pay $1 to help cover the shipping costs… The Olive Oil Hunter, TJ Robinson, will send you a complimentary $39 bottle of one of the greatest olive oils I’ve ever tasted… You must check this out


Researchers discover Mediterranean diet ingredient may extend life — MedicalXpress

Lipid Droplet-Derived Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Traffic via PLIN5 to Allosterically Activate SIRT1 — Molecular Cell

What is the Mediterranean diet? — Medical News Today

Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and