Many of us appreciate the wonderful benefits of adding olive oil to our diet, but few know about the powerful effect it can have on brain health.
Part of the famous Mediterranean Diet, olive oil has long been of interest to researchers. Research has now demonstrated that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of olive oil can reduce the risk of heart problems, and also provide greater protection for the digestive tract.
Moreover, research has also demonstrated olive oil’s ability to reduce the risk of some kinds of cancer. According to research conducted in the US, Belgium, Spain and Ireland, the risk of breast cancer and upper digestive tract cancer can be lessened by consuming as little as 2 tablespoons of olive oil daily.
As if all of these amazing health benefits were not good enough reasons to include olive oil in our diet, research is now pointing to olive oil’s powerful contribution to brain health.
Researchers in France have now shown olive oil’s ability to improve the cognitive functioning of the brain. A recent large-scale study of older adults demonstrated that people’s visual memory and verbal fluency could actually be improved through regular use of olive oil.
In separate research, olive oil was administered to laboratory animals whose brain function had been compromised through lack of oxygen. Adding olive oil to the diet of these animals had an amazing effect – It effectively offset a host of brain-related problems, including unbalanced nervous system activity and the ability of molecules to pass through the blood-brain barrier.
This amazing ability to protect the brain during times of imbalance and stress has great potential for brain health and is the subject of ongoing research.
In another very recent large and well-designed study, researches also found that olive oil had the ability to stave off strokes. Strokes are potentially life-threatening and serious medical emergencies that result from blood being cut off from the brain. Though people above the age of 65 are in the highest risk bracket, 25% of all strokes happen to people under this age. Because strokes do not respect age, even children can have them.
This well constructed study involved more than 8000 people and had a full 6 year follow-up period which enabled results to be confirmed over time.
The results astounded researchers. The researchers found that people who included plenty of olive oil in their diet had a whopping 41% lower risk of having a stroke than those who did not use olive oil at all!
The marvellous health benefits of olive oil derive mainly from its powerful anti-inflammatory polyphenols and more than 2 dozen other anti-infammitory compounds. Its massive 70% oleic acid content greatly aids the body in maintaining a healthy balance of LDL and HDL cholesterol. Also, olive oil is abundant in anti-oxidants which have the ability to protect the body – and brain – from damage.
The finest olive oil to use if extra virgin olive oil. This type of oil is the unrefined oil extracted from the first pressing of the olives. Not only does it contain the highest degree of important compounds and healthy nutrients, but it also has the most delicate and delicious flavour.
If you really value your health and are determined to maintain a healthy brain, then extra virgin olive oil is one of the best brain foods you can take.