Olive Oil to Prevent Strokes?

By: Dr. Pascale Michelon

There is clearly a link between diet and brain health. Numerous studies have shown that a diet low in saturated fat, dairy products and meat but high in fish, vegetables, fruits, cereals and unsaturated fats (such as the Mediterranean diet) may be the best for the brain. Olive oil, a source of unsaturated fat, may be key in such diet. A recent study goes further by linking olive oil and lower risks of strokes.

Olive oil lowers risks of strokes
Participants in the study were 7,625 people from three cities in France, age 65 and older, with no history of stroke. Their olive oil consumption was categorized as “no use,” “moderate use” (such as 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 or with bread).
After about five years, 148 strokes were observed among the participants. The risk of stroke was 41% lower for people who regularly used olive oil for both cooking and as dressing compared to those who never used olive oil in their diet (1.5% in six years compared to 2.6%). Importantly, this was observed even after considering other risk factors for stroke such as diet, physical activity, and body mass index.

What is good in olive oil?
Although olive oil has been associated with potentially protective effects against many cardiovascular risk factors (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity), it is not clear which elements of olive oil could be protective. For all we know, it could be that olive oil merely makes other healthy food taste better!

Samieri,C., et al. (2011). Olive oil consumption, plasma oleic acid, and stroke incidence: The Three-City Study. Neurology, 77:418-425.

12 comments on “Olive Oil to Prevent Strokes?

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  5. Ifra on said:

    I cook with coconut oil or buettr more than 90% of the time. I never cook with olive oil. I only used it as a dressing.The smoke point is only used to determine when the oil will start to smoke. If olive oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees it does NOT mean that you can cook with it at a temperature of up to 350 degrees.Just keep it simple folks. Cook with saturated fat its stable. Coconut oil, buettr, ghee and tallow or lard if you want.Use olive oil as a dressing. I LOVE sesame oil awesome flavors but just drizzle that on some foods a little goes a long ways!

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  12. Phyllis Heard on said:

    Not all olive oil is the same and there may be even more good news regarding Olive oil and health. One of the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil is called Oleocanthal. It is showing promise in clearing amyloid plaques in the frontal cortex. Amyloid -beta deposits may be responsible for cognitive decline in Alzheimers and other neurological conditions. It is a good idea to ask your olive oil dealer to list polyphenols/antioxidants on the label of extra virgin olive oil, as the higher the levels the better for your health. A good extra virgin should make you cough, taste like fresh olive fruit and leave a peppery ,bitter after taste. Those are the best oils for your health.A refined olive oil has been processed and contains no polyphenols. It is unclear what oil the participants in this study consumed. Always check the pressing date and make sure you consume extra virgin olive oil within a year of production.

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