Spanish researchers evaluated the effect of adding olive oil to the diets of healthy elderly. The results showed that extra virgin olive oil reduced total cholesterol, but also increased HDL levels also known as the good cholesterol.
The study, published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics included 62 participants aged 65 – 96 years. They were divided into two groups; the control group maintained their current diet, while the olive group consumed EVOO as the only added fat and a daily dose of 50 ml, which corresponds to about three tablespoons.
After six weeks the researchers found a significant reduction of total cholesterol, but also an increase in the HDL (the “good” cholesterol). In addition, the olive group had a higher plasma Total Antioxidant Capacity compared to the control group. The researchers concluded that nutritional intervention with EVOO improves the antioxidant status in healthy elderly people.
These findings that olive oil can improve antioxidant status as well as lipid profile in the elderly adds to recent research that is pointing to the Mediterranean diet as the ideal diet for the elderly. Three new studies have shown that a Mediterranean style diet can positively affect several side effects of aging.
Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago concluded after following over 3,500 men for 7 years, that the annual rate of developing depressive symptoms was 98.6 percent lower among persons in the highest tertile of a Mediterranean-based dietary pattern compared with persons in the lowest tertile group.
Another new study published in Neurology which used information from over 17,000 individuals over the age of 45, concluded that closer adherence to a Mediterranean style diet resulted in a lower risk of memory loss, while a third study by Spanish researchers showed it improves vascular dysfunction and can play a role in the protection against the chronic diseases related to aging.