A Drizzle of Olive Oil a Day May Protect Against Death From Dementia, Study Finds

Olive oil consumption is linked with a lower risk of heart disease, as well as a lower risk of death from several diseases. While there appear to be solid cardiovascular benefits of regularly adding a drizzle of olive oil, a new study points toward its brain benefits.

A study just shared at NUTRITION 2023, an annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, found that people who consumed more than a half a tablespoon of olive oil each day had a 28% lower risk of dying from dementia, compared to those who never or rarely consumed it. Further, there was an 8-14% lower risk for every teaspoon of margarine or butter replaced with the same amount of olive oil.

Hand pouring olive oil on bread

The study involved data from more than 90,000 Americans over three decades, with 4,749 participants dying from dementia during that time.

Dr. Anne-Julie Tessier, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who presented the findings, says, “Our study reinforces dietary guidelines recommending vegetable oils such as olive oil and suggests that these recommendations not only support heart health but potentially brain health, as well.”

Though people who consume more olive oil may have a healthier diet overall, which could possibly skew these numbers, the researchers found that the benefits of olive oil applied regardless of diet quality. This could mean there’s something in it that benefits the brain.

Pouring olive oil in glass bowl

Tessier says olive oil contains antioxidant compounds that can cross the blood-brain barrier, which may impact the brain directly. Another theory is that olive oil’s impacts on heart health may help boost brain health by extension. However, the study doesn’t prove that olive oil itself was the cause of fewer dementia deaths, and the team says more research is needed to confirm the findings and to pinpoint the amount of olive oil needed to gain these benefits.

Past research has indicated the same thing: that olive oil consumption is linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s death. That isn’t the only cause of death it may protect against, though. Read more on that study here.

Pouring olive oil on salad
People, Pets & Planet

Help where it’s needed most at GreaterGood for free!