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The Power of Olive Oil in Reducing Dementia-Related Mortality

We are all concerned about developing Alzheimer's or similar diseases as we age, so it makes sense to consider integrating olive oil into our daily diets.  A recent study from Harvard University has added to existing research on the cognitive benefits of olive oil, suggesting that olive oil consumption is associated with a significant decrease in the risk of dementia-related mortality. 

Key Findings from the Study 

In an observational study that spanned nearly 30 years and included over 92,000 participants, researchers found that consuming at least 7 grams of olive oil per day (about half a tablespoon) was associated with a 28% lower risk of dementia-related death. This finding was consistent even after accounting for various factors such as diet quality, lifestyle choices, and genetic predispositions. 

The study's findings are particularly encouraging, given the growing prevalence of dementia and the lack of effective treatments. 

Olive Oil Benefits Regardless of Diet Quality 

One particularly compelling aspect of this study is that the benefits of olive oil consumption were observed regardless of the overall quality of participants' diets. Typically, individuals who use olive oil tend to have a higher diet quality overall, often following dietary patterns like the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, such as olive oil. However, the study found that even among those with varying diet qualities, higher olive oil intake still provided significant protective benefits against dementia-related mortality. 

This suggests that olive oil alone has powerful health benefits that can contribute to reduced dementia risk, independent of other dietary factors. Whether you already follow a healthy diet or are just starting to make better food choices, incorporating olive oil can be a beneficial addition. 

How to Maximize the Benefits 

The key to reaping the benefits of olive oil, according to this study, is to replace other dietary fats such as margarine, mayonnaise and butter with olive oil. Here are some ways to increase your olive oil intake: 

  • Replace bottled salad dressings with simple dressings you make at home by mixing olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice. 
  • Replace mayo with olive oil in recipes like tuna salad or potato salad. 
  • Dip bread in olive oil instead of using butter or margarine as a spread. 
  • Use olive oil as your main cooking fat for sautéing, baking or frying. 
  • Replace butter on vegetables with a drizzle of flavorful olive oil. 

By making these delicious food swaps, you may not only support your brain health but also benefit from the numerous other health advantages associated with olive oil. 

While further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind this study's findings,  current evidence strongly supports the inclusion of olive oil in your daily diet as a preventive measure against dementia-related mortality. 

Read the full study here: 

Further reading  

Can Olive Oil Reduce Dementia-Related Deaths? 

This Popular Ingredient Lowers Your Risk of Dying from Dementia — and It's Probably in Your Pantry Right Now 

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