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Add Olive Oil to Your Diet for a Happier, Healthier Mind

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, dedicated to highlighting mental health issues and the importance mental health has on our overall well-being. As we focus on caring for our mental health, it’s essential to consider the impact our diet has on our minds. 

Olive oil is a powerful food that can easily be added to your diet. This versatile and delicious ingredient offers numerous mental health benefits.

3 Ways Olive Oil Can Improve Mental Health 

  1. Reduces Inflammation. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, which possess strong anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is linked to various mental health disorders, including depression. Research shows that inflammation can alter neurotransmitter metabolism, reducing serotonin levels that affect your bodily functions, such as mood, sleep, and digestion, thus contributing to depressive symptoms.[1] 
  2. Boosts Brain Function with Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Olive oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, crucial for maintaining the structure and function of brain cell membranes. These fatty acids support brain health and have been shown to alleviate depression symptoms, especially when used alongside antidepressants. Studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids enhance the effectiveness of antidepressants, reducing the severity of depression.[2]
  3. Protects Against Oxidative Stress. Depression is associated with increased oxidative stress– an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in polyphenols, provides robust antioxidant protection by neutralizing free radicals and reducing oxidative damage in the brain. This neuroprotective effect helps maintain brain health and prevent neuron damage. [3]

The Mediterranean Diet and Mental Health 

Olive oil is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and lean proteins. This diet is linked to lower depression rates and improved overall mental health. 

Studies published in the British Journal of Psychiatry and other research conducted in Spain found that individuals following a Mediterranean diet had significantly lower odds of developing depression compared to those consuming a diet high in processed foods. [4][5]. 

Quick Ways to Incorporate Olive Oil into Your Diet 

  • Drizzle on Breakfast: Add olive oil to your morning smoothie, yogurt, avocado toast, or oatmeal. 
  • Cooking Substitute: Replace potentially less healthy cooking oils, butter and margarine with olive oil. 
  • Dessert Ingredient: Use olive oil in baking or as a topping for desserts. 

Take Action This Mental Health Awareness Month 

This May, take proactive steps to nurture your mind and body. Incorporate olive oil into your diet to enjoy its numerous health benefits and support your mental health. Small dietary changes can make a significant difference. Grab a bottle of olive oil and start your journey towards a happier, healthier mind today! 

Disclaimer: While dietary changes can support mental health, they should complement professional medical advice and treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, seek help from a healthcare professional. 



[1] The role of inflammation in depression: from evolutionary imperative to modern treatment target  

[2] Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation in the Treatment of Depression: An Observational Study 

[3] Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, and Neuroprotective Effects of Polyphenols-Polyphenols as an Element of Diet Therapy in Depressive Disorders 

[4] Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age. 

[5] Association of the Mediterranean dietary pattern with the incidence of depression 

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