HealthOlive oil consumption can slash dementia death risk, reveals Nutrition 2023 Congress study

Olive oil consumption can slash dementia death risk, reveals Nutrition 2023 Congress study

Olive oil has amazing properties.
Olive oil has amazing properties.
Images source: © Getty Images | Dusan Zidar

11:58 PM EST, January 15, 2024

Olive oil is an abundant source of healthy fats, particularly monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, renowned for their heart health benefits. It also provides a good amount of vitamins E and K. Furthermore, it contains many unique plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties, such as oleuropein, oleocanthal, and oleacein.

The health benefits of olive oil

Support for heart and vascular health. Oleic acid, the primary fatty component of olive oil, lowers the risk of developing heart disease. The antioxidants present in olive oil can prevent the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, a significant contributor to heart disease.

Support for digestive health. Olive oil promotes digestion and functions as a prebiotic, nurturing healthy gut bacteria.

Support for bone health. Research indicates that consuming olive oil can strengthen bone health due to its vitamin K and phenolic compounds, which help conserve bone mineral density.

Fighting inflammatory processes. Olive oil's phenolic compound, oleocanthal, has anti-inflammatory properties comparable to those of ibuprofen. As a result, it can help combat inflammation within the body.

Improvement of skin health. Thanks to its high content of vitamin E and antioxidants, olive oil can safeguard the skin from oxidative damage associated with aging.

Beneficial effects on brain health. The antioxidants in olive oil can help shield brain cells from damage, potentially slowing down the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

This last point is linked to a study unveiled at the Nutrition 2023 Congress in Boston. It's the first one to look at the connection between diet and death from dementia.

Lower risk of death from neurodegenerative diseases

Scientists scrutinized dietary questionnaires and death records of over 90,000 Americans (60,000 women and 30,000 men). These participants were involved in health worker control studies between 1990 and 2018, and their average age at the beginning of the study was 56.

The observation period spanned 28 years. Their findings revealed that participants who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day had a 28 percent lower risk of dying from dementia compared to those who seldom consumed olive oil.

Our study suggests that olive oil definitively supports brain health. These benefits could stem from antioxidant compounds that have a direct impact on the brain. They might also originate from a positive effect on the circulatory system. After all, vascular disease cause about half of all dementia cases - said Anne-Julie Tessier, the study's co-author and an Associate Professor at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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