The Best Cooking Oil Options for Longevity From Blue Zones

IIf you’re only marginally concerned with longevity, you’ve likely heard talk about blue zones. In short, it is the five regions of the world where the tallest and healthiest people live—Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica.

Says The Nutrition Twins Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN: CDN, CFT. “They are energetic, eat a mostly plant-based diet, drink a glass of red wine a day, plus they are spiritual and keep in touch with their family and friends and surround themselves with positive people.”

The two best types of cooking oil for longevity

There are a number of eating habits common to people living in the Blue Zones. For example, as mentioned, they consume a largely vegetarian diet that consists of plenty of beans, fresh produce, whole grains, fresh fish, herbs, spices, and more. But what are the most common oils that blue-zone centenarians cook with (and wash on dishes) with regularly? In short, it is not any form of saturated oil.

1. olive oil

Dan Buettner, founder of Blue Zones, says: “In Ikaria, we found that people aged 65 and older who consumed at least four ounces of olive oil per day were associated with the lowest mortality rates. In other words, relatively high olive oil consumption appears to be Life expectancy is expected to rise.” Olive oil is also very popular in the Blue Zone regions of Sardinia and Loma Linda.

“Olive oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health,” Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD previously told Well + Good. Besides being full of these beneficial fats, they are also a good source of antioxidants. Both reasons are why it has been linked in countless scientific studies to reduced inflammation.

When you consider its benefits, it’s no surprise that many areas of the Blue Zone tend to use olive oil – and extra-virgin olive oil in particular – in abundance. “Pure olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which research has proven to be your good-for-you fats that help fight inflammation and protect your heart from heart disease by protecting your cholesterol from oxidation,” says The Nutrition Twins. It’s also low in inflammatory omega-6 fats, and a large review study of more than 800,000 people found that olive oil was the only fat source associated with a reduced risk of strokes and heart attacks.

When it comes to cooking with olive oil, there have been many misconceptions due to its low burning point. While many people think that it is not safe to cook with it, this is not actually true. “Research has shown that high-quality extra virgin olive oil is safe to cook with and does not oxidize or degrade and that high levels of polyphenols protect the oil from oxidation when cooked at high temperatures,” says The Nutrition Twins.

These are the benefits of olive oil that you should know:

2. Avocado oil

The oil also plays an important role in the Nicoyaan diet, but it is high in avocado oil. You probably already know how nutrient-rich avocados are, and Rifkin says a lot of the fruit’s nutrients can be found in avocado oil, too. “Similar to olive oil, avocado oil is rich in unsaturated fats, which are linked to reduced inflammation,” she told us. “Avocado oil has a high smoke point, so it may be a good oil for high-temperature cooking,” Buettner adds.

Twin feeding agrees. “Avocado oil is a wonderful, versatile oil that can be used for just about anything,” they say. “Avocado oil is full of antioxidants, so you have less to worry about deterioration for this reason too. Avocado oil is good for heart health and has been found to reduce triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol without affecting good HDL cholesterol. Avocado oil is rich in carotenoid lutein which improves eye health and may reduce Age-related eye disease risk.

These are the nutritionist-backed avocado benefits you should know:

So, what is the best long lasting cooking oil?

Bottom line: Olive oil and avocado oil are good for your health and longevity. Additionally, both fit in with the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recent official statement outlining the ten most important attributes of a heart-healthy approach to eating. Specifically, the American Heart Association recommends avoiding “liquid non-tropical vegetable oils like olive oil or sunflower oil” when it’s time to eat a heart-healthy meal.

“When it comes to combining oils, variety is best, so mix them in olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, etc.,” Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, CEO of NY Nutrition Group and author Basic Healthy Eating Plan 3 It was previously said ok + good. “The more diverse the food groups you eat, the more nutrients your body will beneficially absorb.” Keep this in mind as you stare in the cooking oil section of the grocery store.

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