Olive Oil & Dementia
Does regular consumption of EVOO reduce the risk of dementia?
This is a really important question given the unprecedented rise in prevalence of dementia in recent times. Significantly lower levels of dementia have been observed in populations living in the Mediterranean region for many years. Observational and controlled trials such as the Predimed Study have also shown that a Mediterranean Diet with EVOO is associated with improved memory and cognition, and a trial in Manhattan showed that older people who enjoyed a Mediterranean Diet even had larger brains! This should perhaps be no surprise since we are familiar with many ways in which EVOO can improve blood vessel functioning, including blood supply to the brain through the effects of antioxidant polyphenols on the walls of arteries and reducing blood clot formation. In 2020 an exciting study from the University of Thessaloniki published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease demonstrated that people who were in the early stages of cognitive decline fared considerably better with the addition of high polyphenol EVOO in comparison with a group provided with low polyphenol EVOO. This is a really exciting area of research which provides hope that the Mediterranean Diet with EVOO at its heart may have an important role in protecting us from dementia.