`Plenty of Olive Oil Might Help Prevent Strokes, Researchers Find

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Plenty of Olive Oil Might Help Prevent Strokes, Researchers Find

Jun. 15, 2011
Elena Paravantes

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Accord­ing to a new study from France, older indi­vid­u­als who con­sume olive oil daily may be able to pro­tect them­selves from a stroke. The study which is part of the Three-City Study, an ongo­ing mul­ti­cen­ter study of vas­cu­lar risk fac­tors for demen­tia, was pub­lished today in the online issue of Neu­rol­ogy, the med­ical jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Neu­rol­ogy.

For this study researchers gath­ered infor­ma­tion from the med­ical records of 7,625 indi­vid­u­als over the age of 65 from three cities in France: Bor­deaux, Dijon and Mont­pel­lier. None of the par­tic­i­pants had a his­tory of stroke. They than cat­e­go­rized the indi­vid­u­als into three groups based on their olive oil con­sump­tion: no use,” mod­er­ate use” which involved using olive oil in cook­ing or as dress­ing or with bread, and inten­sive use,” which included using olive oil for both cook­ing and as dress­ing. The researchers noted that the par­tic­i­pants used mostly extra vir­gin olive oil, as that is what is usu­ally avail­able in France.

After 5 years there were 148 strokes. The results showed that the inten­sive” users of olive oil, those that used for both cook­ing and dress­ings had a 41 per­cent lower risk of stroke com­pared to those that did not use olive oil at all. These results were noted even after con­sid­er­ing weight, diet, phys­i­cal activ­ity and other risk fac­tors.

A stroke occurs when a blood clot devel­ops in an artery or blood ves­sel block­ing blood flow to the brain. This can cause the death of brain cells and brain dam­age. Stroke is the sec­ond lead­ing cause of death world­wide and the third largest cause of death in the United States. Accord­ing to study author Cecilia Samieri, PhD, from with the Uni­ver­sity of Bor­deaux and the National Insti­tute of Health and Med­ical Research (INSERM) in Bor­deaux, France, the research sug­gests that a new set of dietary rec­om­men­da­tions should be used to pre­vent stroke in older indi­vid­u­als. Stroke is so com­mon in older peo­ple and olive oil would be an inex­pen­sive and easy way to help pre­vent it,” she said.

In an accom­pa­ny­ing edi­to­r­ial, Niko­laos Scarmeas, MD, of Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity and a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Neu­rol­ogy noted that it is not clear which par­tic­u­lar ele­ments of olive oil could be pro­tec­tive and added that only future clin­i­cal tri­als can increase con­fi­dence in the find­ings and poten­tially lead to stroke pre­ven­tion rec­om­men­da­tions.

How­ever, that does not mean that olive oil shouldn’t be the main source of fat in the diet. In terms of gen­eral health it is rec­om­mended that unsat­u­rated fat includ­ing monoun­sat­u­rated fats found in olive oil, should replace sat­u­rated fats in the diet as this has many health ben­e­fits such as reduc­tion of risk of heart dis­ease as well as improve­ments of blood sugar lev­els.

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  • Olive oil con­sump­tion, plasma oleic acid, and stroke inci­dence: Three-City Study

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