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A spoonful of olive oil a day could reduce the risk of dementia-related death by 28%: ScienceAlert

Growing evidence suggests that adding just a spoonful of olive oil to your diet each day can have powerful health benefits. A new US study suggests this includes protection against dementia.

While healthy “Mediterranean” diets generally tend to include a pinch of olive oil, researchers say the ingredient itself stands out for its beneficial qualities.

“Typically, people who use olive oil for cooking or as a salad dressing have better overall dietary quality, but interestingly we found that the association was independent of this factor,” she said. Harvard University nutritionist Anne-Julie Tessier told Healthline’s Kaitlin Vogel.

Tessier and his colleagues combined the results of surveys of nurses and health professionals conducted in the 1970s and 1980s. Not all of them had heart disease or cancer when the surveys first introduced questions about olive oil consumption in 1990. In the years that followed, 4,751 of the 92,383 selected participants died from dementia-related causes.

Researchers found that adults who regularly consumed more than 7 grams of olive oil per day (about half a tablespoon) were 28% less likely to die from dementia-related illnesses than those who never consumed or rarely olive oil.

“Olive oil may exert anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects due to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and other compounds with antioxidant properties such as vitamin E and polyphenols,” explain Tessier and his team. in their article.

Animal studies suggest that specific types of fats, such as the monounsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil, may have protective health effects, and that polyphenols may help prevent amyloid plaques associated with the disease. of Alzheimer’s.

“There is … evidence showing that it’s the combination of all these different compounds more than just one element responsible for the positive effects,” said Domenico Praticò, a neuroscientist at Temple University, who was not involved in the study. study, to Robby Berman at Medical News Today. in 2023.

Study participants were primarily white and educated, meaning the results cannot yet be generalized to diverse populations. Additionally, because this was an observational study, researchers cannot yet directly relate the results to olive oil.

However, previous research has also suggested that people who regularly consume olive oil have about a 30 percent lower risk of dying from a neurodegenerative disease.

As dementia rates continually rise globally and there is no cure, preventative measures through diet, physical and mental exercise are the best chance we have to alleviate these diseases, which currently affect more than 55 million people worldwide.

Olive oil is probably a key element in the consistently positive health results of a Mediterranean diet. But not everyone has the same access to a whole food diet, so understanding which parts of it have the greatest impacts on health can go a long way in helping our most vulnerable people improve their health.

This research was published in Open JAMA Network.

News Source : www.sciencealert.com
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