olive oil

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.

Lauretti et al, Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, online June 21, 2017

Learn More:

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.

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  1. Diane
    Mt. Kisco, NY
    Reply

    Since I heard that oil is a solvent for plastic, I have been buying mayonnaise at our local Mrs. Green’s to get it in a glass jar. Now I find that none of the mayonnaise on their shelves, organic or otherwise, is made with olive oil, much less extra virgin. We have soy, canola, and avocado in various combinations, but no olive!

    In other grocery stores, shelves hold bottles of olive oil blended with other vegetable oils. Read labels carefully.

  2. J. David Auner
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Reply

    With 60% more olive oil sold by the Sicilians than can possibly be produced in the world, how do you know what you are actually consuming? Don’t you just love new-age pecuniary chemists?

  3. Kitty.
    Niagara Falls NY
    Reply

    How would you know if you are getting what you are paying for, in this case “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”? I saw a broadcast on 60 Minutes that told how they alter the Extra Virgin Oil, which I believe was totally controlled by a sort of mafia group; they said 75-80% of this altered (diluted) product was mostly shipped to the United States. Thank you. Kitty.

  4. Carol Kroll
    Reply

    How much extra-virgin olive oil would be enough to help our brains? We use a small amount, but how much are they talking about? I’d really like to know, wouldn’t you?

  5. david
    Reply

    Is it the polyphenols or the fatty acids? There are better tasting and cheaper sources of polyphenols. Search the internet for a list of foods which are good sources of polyphenols. My favorites are unprocessed and don’t deteriorate with storage like olive oil.

  6. Robyn
    NC
    Reply

    I have been reading that coconut oil is helpful for those who already have cognitive issues. Is olive oil better in this case?

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