A spoonful of olive oil a day could reduce risk of death from dementia: study

Click to play video: 'An ode to the health benefits of olive oil'
An ode to the health benefits of olive oil
WATCH: An ode to the health benefits of olive oil – Nov 15, 2022

A study has found that about a spoonful of olive oil a day could lower the risk of dying from dementia.

The study, published in the JAMA Network Open on Monday, observed more than 90,000 adults in the U.S. over 28 years, 65 per cent of whom were female. The mean age was 56 at the beginning of the study.

The women’s cohort was from the Nurses’ Health Study from 1990 to 2018, and the male cohort was from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study during the same years. All were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer from baseline.

Olive oil intake was assessed every four years using a food frequency questionnaire. Dementia death was found through death records. Over the 28 years, more than 4,700 dementia-related deaths occurred.

The study found that those who consumed more than seven grams of olive oil a day — a bit over half a tablespoon — had a 28 per cent lower risk of dying from dementia compared with those who never or rarely consumed olive oil.

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Why is extra virgin olive oil so expensive now?

The study estimates that substituting five grams a day of margarine and mayonnaise with olive oil was associated with an eight to 14 per cent lower dementia-related death risk, but not when substituting butter or other vegetable oils.

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“These findings provide evidence to support dietary recommendations advocating for the use of olive oil and other vegetable oils as a potential strategy to maintain overall health and prevent dementia,” the study stated.

The study’s results showed an association of lower dementia death risk with olive oil, not a causation.

While the study admitted that higher olive oil consumption could be a sign of a healthier diet, it highlighted that olive oil could lower dementia mortality by improving vascular health. It said that olive oil can “attenuate inflammation, oxidative stress and restore blood brain barrier function, thereby … improving cognitive function.”

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“These findings extend the current dietary recommendations of choosing olive oil and other vegetable oils to the context of cognitive health and related mortality,” the study said.

The authors say to their knowledge, it is the first study to investigate whether olive oil is linked with the risk of death from dementia.

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