Extra-virgin olive oil might help protect your brain against Alzheimer disease. Epidemiologists have noted that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are less prone to cognitive decline. In one study, people eating Mediterranean-style developed less brain atrophy.
Mice Eating Olive Oil Get Fewer Plaques and Tangles:
Now, research in mice has demonstrated that extra-virgin olive oil prevented the development of beta-amyloid plaques. They also had fewer tau tangles. Brains of Alzheimer patients typically contain both plaques and tangles.
The scientists gave half the mice chow with olive oil for six months, starting when the mice were six months old. Those on the olive oil-rich diet had less inflammation in their brains.
Mice in this study were genetically engineered to be especially susceptible to dementia similar to Alzheimer disease. The mice getting chow laced with extra-virgin olive oil performed better in mazes at nine months and a year. These were tests of working and spatial memory. Matched control mice who got plain chow did significantly worse on these tests.
Should You Include Extra-Virgin Olive Oil in Your Diet?
Evidence continues to accumulate that a Mediterranean diet rich in extra virgin olive oil can protect your brain as well as your heart. Not everyone enjoys the peppery flavor of the polyphenols in extra-virgin olive oil, but those who do will probably benefit.
If you would like to know more about how to follow a Mediterranean-type diet, you might want to read our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. It has a simple outline of the basics of the diet.
If you are more interested in how to select a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, check out our Show 1079: What Is the Science Behind Fabulous Foods for Your Health? In it, we interview Dr. Tod Cooperman of ConsumerLab.com about which olive oil products performed well in recent tests.