` Olive Oil May Help Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil May Help Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases

Mar. 5, 2012
Naomi Tupper

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Dr. Emilo Ros

A study car­ried out by the Lipid Unit of the Barcelona Hospital Clinic sug­gests that high con­sump­tion of olive oil, along with other foods rich in antiox­i­dant polyphe­nols, may improve cog­ni­tive func­tion and pre­vent neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases. Polyphenols are known to be pow­er­ful antiox­i­dants which may help to reverse oxida­tive dam­age that occurs in the aging process. This dam­age is thought to be a causative fac­tor for the devel­op­ment of many lifestyle dis­eases includ­ing, heart dis­ease, Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

According to Dr. Emilo Ros, one of the authors of the study recently pub­lished in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, it is rec­om­mended to use olive oil on a daily basis, con­sump­tion of nuts four to seven days per week, and drink­ing 2 glasses of red wine daily for men and one for women.

This style of eat­ing, which falls in line with the Mediterranean Diet pat­tern, appears to have pos­i­tive effects not only on brain func­tion but also car­dio­vas­cu­lar health.

The study was car­ried out as part of the mul­ti­cen­ter clin­i­cal trial PREDIMED, a long-term nutri­tional inter­ven­tion study aimed to assess the effects of the Mediterranean diet in the pri­mary pre­ven­tion of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases. The trial involved over 7,000 sub­jects, aged between 55 and 80, at high risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

This par­tic­u­lar part of the study, included 447 par­tic­i­pants, who were asymp­to­matic but at high car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk, and not fol­low­ing a spe­cific diet. The food intake and car­dio­vas­cu­lar pro­file was assessed and the indi­vid­u­als went through a series of neu­ropsy­cho­log­i­cal tests to eval­u­ate cog­ni­tive func­tion. The researchers also ana­lyzed polyphe­nol lev­els in the urine in order to have an objec­tive bio­marker of intake.

According to the results, it appears that the con­sump­tion of olive oil, par­tic­u­larly extra vir­gin, was asso­ci­ated with bet­ter scores in ver­bal mem­ory tests, whilst a higher intake of nuts and mod­er­ate wine con­sump­tion were found to have a pos­i­tive effect on over­all cog­ni­tive func­tion.

The results sug­gest a Mediterranean style diet, high in polyphe­nols, may pro­tect against the cog­ni­tive decline asso­ci­ated with age or dis­eases such as Alzheimer’s. The Mediterranean eat­ing style is also sup­ported by sev­eral epi­demi­o­log­i­cal stud­ies which sug­gest that foods such as fruit, veg­eta­bles and fish, in addi­tion to polyun­sat­u­rated fatty acids, vit­a­min B and antiox­i­dants have sim­i­lar effects.

The new find­ings add to the ever grow­ing evi­dence of the ben­e­fits of a Mediterranean style diet in an increas­ing num­ber of patholo­gies and were well received by the pres­i­dent of the Mediterranean Diet Foundation Luis Serra Majem.

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