Could olive oil help protect us from dementia ?

A recent study by Harvard researchers, including a Quebec dietitian-nutritionist Dre Julie-Anne Tessier, suggests that regular consumption of olive oil may reduce the risk of dementia. What a great news !

In fact, data from more than 92,000 healthcare professionals, analyzed over a 28-years period indicate that those who consume more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day reduce their risk of dementia-related death by 28%. Alzheimer’s and dementia already affect 1/3 of elderlies, and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

To explain these benefits, the properties of olive oil were put forward, including the fact that it is rich in polyphenols (antioxidants), good fats and vitamins. These compounds help protect the body and brain against inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are known biological processes associated with dementia.

The study also highlighted that the benefits of olive oil were particularly pronounced in women and in people who already had some genetic predisposition to dementia. A 33% reduction in the risk of dementia was observed in women, versus 25% in men.

The researchers recommend including olive oil in a balanced diet and continuing to practice a healthy lifestyle for its effects on cognitive health. It is also important to continue research in this field to investigate which types of olive oil would be best, and to confirm the results with various populations.

Although excellent for your health, olive oil is not miraculous. Eating too much could lead to health problems such as an increased waistline. Here are our suggestions for enjoying its delicious taste, in moderation :

  • Plain, by dipping in your favorite grain bread: tortilla, sliced bread, etc.
  • In a stir-fry, with broccoli, carrots, onion and peppers
  • In salads, with romaine lettuce, spring mix or kale
  • As a marinade on grilled fish.

In conclusion, the study suggests that olive oil could be a valuable asset for improving longevity without suffering from dementia. For more information,
Here’s the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Network Open)

During your next appointment, we’ll be happy to advise you on the optimal amount of olive oil for your personalized nutritional needs.

See you then !

Johanne Vézina, Dt.P. Nutritionist-speaker and Érika Martin, Dt.P. Nutritionist

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