A study presented at NUTRITION 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition, looked at how olive oil intake and dementia-related death could potentially be connected. Prevention’s recent article, “Olive Oil Linked to Lower Risk of Dying From Dementia, Study Shows,” reports that researchers looked at data from more than 90,000 Americans—60,582 women and 31,801 men. The study took place over 30 years in which 4,749 participants died from dementia.
Researchers found that participants who consumed more than ½ a tbsp of olive oil each day had a 28% lower risk of dying from dementia than individuals who never or rarely consumed olive oil. They also saw that switching 5 g (or about 1 tsp) a day of margarine or mayonnaise for olive oil was linked to an 8–14% lower risk of dementia-related death.
The study noted that those who died of dementia were more likely to be APOe4 carriers, a gene that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, they said the results were still consistent after adjusting for the genetic risk factors.
These findings suggest that olive oil may have beneficial properties for brain health and may play a part in lowering the risk of dementia-related death.
With its antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, olive oil has many health-protective benefits. Generally, olive oil may help reduce the risk of heart disease, boosting gut health, protecting brain health, and improving health parameters, like A1C levels associated with type 2 diabetes.
Diets like the Mediterranean diet that are rich in unsaturated fats have been found to have cardiovascular health benefits. Plus, studies have found that this diet plays a role in reducing the risk of cognitive decline in individuals at risk of dementia.
“Because olive oil is a source of unsaturated fat and a major component of the Mediterranean diet, incorporating olive oil into a healthy lifestyle may provide additional cardiovascular and brain health benefits,” the article explained.
Compared with rarely or never enjoying olive oil, having more than 1½ tsp of olive oil a day may be linked with a 25% reduced risk of fatal dementia. So, keep a small bottle of extra-virgin olive oil on the table so it’s available for drizzling onto your meals for its various health-protective benefits.
Reference: Prevention (July 29, 2023) “Olive Oil Linked to Lower Risk of Dying From Dementia, Study Shows”