New research shows olive oil could help reduce dementia-related deaths

Half a tablespoon of olive oil per day could aid in maintaining cognitive function

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published July 28, 2023 1:50PM (EDT)

Olive Oil (Getty Images/HakanEliacik/500px)
Olive Oil (Getty Images/HakanEliacik/500px)

Most people know that in the realm of cooking fats, olive oil is considered a "good fat" because it is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which can aid in lowering ones LDL cholesterol. But as researchers discussed at the Nutrition 2023 Conference — the American Society for Nutritions' annual meeting —new findings suggest that olive oil could serve as a tool against dementia. 

Dr. Anne-Julie Tessier, a coauthor of the research and postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a news release that opting for "olive oil, a natural product instead of fats such as margarine and commercial mayonnaise is a safe choice and may reduce the risk of fatal dementia."

As CNN reports, two separate studies were undertaken, the first with 60,600 women and the second with 32,000 men.  The study took place over 28 years, following up with the participants via questionnaires every four years. Over the 28 year period, it was found that, regardless of diet quality otherwise, "eating more than half a tablespoons of olive oil per day was associated with a 28% lower risk of dying from dementia, compared with participants who never or rarely consumed olive oil." 

The findings of the studies have not been peer-reviewed or published at this point, and the research is still new, Tessier posits that "it is also possible that olive oil has an indirect effect on brain health by benefiting cardiovascular health." 

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