How a Mediterranean Diet with polyphenol rich extra virgin olive oil as a key component delivers cognitive health benefits.
Updated 15th September 2021
- Mediterranean Diet & Dementia : A New Study
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Alzheimer’s
- New Study Demonstrates Mediterranean & MIND Diet Can Delay Onset Of Parkinson’s Disease
- ‘Significantly Later Onset’ Following Mediterranean Diet With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Other Major Health Benefits Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mediterranean Diet & Dementia : A New Study
People who eat a Mediterranean-style diet, known to include fish, leafy vegetables and extra virgin olive oil, increase their chances of better cognitive function later in life, according to a new study this month.
The scientific research, from Edinburgh University, has shown that consuming lower amounts of read meat and following the principles of Mediterranean cuisine correlated with higher scores in memory and thinking tests in the over 70s.
Extra virgin olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and nuts.
These latest findings suggest that this primarily plant-based diet may have benefits for cognitive function as we get older.
Researchers involved in the study tested the thinking skills of more than 500 people aged 79 and without dementia. The participants completed tests of problem solving, thinking speed, memory and word knowledge, as well as a questionnaire about their eating habits during the previous year.
More than 350 of the group also underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan to gain insights into their brain structure. The team used statistical models to look for associations between a person’s diet and their thinking skills and brain health in later life.
The findings show that, in general, people who most closely adhered to a Mediterranean diet had the highest cognitive function scores, even when accounting for other factors, including childhood IQ, smoking, physical activity and health factors.
Dr Janie Corley, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, said: “Eating more green leafy vegetables and cutting down on red meat might be two key food elements that contribute to the benefits of the Mediterranean-style diet.”
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Alzheimer’s
In 2019, researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia were reported to discover that extra virgin olive oil could aid in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found out that the most common component of the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil, boosts the cognitive performance and could prevent Alzheimer’s in genetically modified mice. The Alzheimer’s disease mice models were said to have no changes in physical appearance after several months after the experiment. Yet, the mice fed with extra virgin olive oil were mentioned to perform better when they reached the age of 9 months and 12 months old.
This latest research from Edinburgh University adds further strength to the weight of evidence supporting the benefits of a Mediterranean Style Diet to many aspects of our overall health.
New Study Demonstrates Mediterranean & MIND Diet Can Delay Onset Of Parkinson’s Disease
New research has linked adherence to a Mediterranean and MIND Diet to later onset of Parkinson’s Disease, according to the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
The MIND (or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet combines the nutritional eating habits of the popular Mediterranean Diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
It was developed by researchers to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, by affecting the biological mechanisms, including oxidative stress and inflammation, that underline Alzheimer’s.
MIND (acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is a collaboration between researchers at Rush University, Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the National Institute on Aging, with the support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The study concluded that a strong correlation was found between the age of onset of Parkinson’s Disease and dietary habits, suggesting that nutritional strategies, including high quality extra virgin olive oil, may be an effective tool to delay PD onset by up to 17.4 years for women and 8.4 years for men.
‘Significantly Later Onset’ Following Mediterranean Diet With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Speaking in the Olive Oil Times, Silke Appel-Cresswell, neurologist, UBC Faculty of Medicine said: “The study shows individuals with Parkinson’s disease have a significantly later age of onset if their eating pattern closely aligns with the Mediterranean-type diet.”
The research was conducted by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and compared two diets: the Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diets.
Both of these diets include extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, seafood, peas, beans, lentils and wine in moderation. A major factor identified in helping to combat the disease is the presence of antioxidant polyphenols.
This year’s harvest of Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a low acidity of 0.2% and the highest ever levels of polyphenols seen in our high-quality oil to date.
Researchers also cited Oleuropein – found in extra virgin olive oil – as having cytoprotective properties for brain cells, which prevents compounds associated with Parkinson’s disease from damaging them.
The UBC study included 225 participants with Parkinson’s disease and 156 control participants. The Mediterranean diet had a more positive correlation with men and the MIND diet with women in the group.
Parkinson’s disease is known to affect around 1 million people in the USA, with around 60,000 diagnosed with the disease every year.
Silke Appel-Cresswell continued: “There is a lack of medications to prevent or delay Parkinson’s disease yet we are optimistic that this new evidence suggests nutrition could potentially delay onset of the disease,”
Other Major Health Benefits Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Helps Reduce Heart Disease
The fatty acids and antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil (one of the key components in a Mediterranean diet) have been extensively linked with reduced risk of heart disease.
The lowest rates of death from coronary heart disease are currently recorded in the countries where extra virgin olive oil is virtually the only fat consumed.Professor Francisco Grande Covian
One of the most recognised components of extra virgin olive oil as a contributing to its health benefits is its polyphenols. They can decommission nasty molecules in your body called free radicals which can ricochet around your body and harm good cells. Antioxidants, such as the polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil, work to neutralize free radicals; protecting the body from their harmful effects.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Improves Digestive Tract Health
Extra virgin olive oil has also been linked to increased digestive tract health. Extra virgin olive oil produces a small amount of secretion by the pancreas, making this organ ‘work’ little, but efficiently and enough to carry out all its digestive functions. It stimulates the absorption of various nutrients, including calcium, Iron and Magnesium.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Maintains Healthy Blood Pressure and Assists Treatment of Diabetes
Regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil has also been proven to decrease both systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) blood pressure.
An extra virgin olive oil rich diet is a good alternative in the treatment of diabetes and is believed by some to help prevent or delay the onset of the disease. This is achieved by preventing insulin resistance lowering triglycerides and ensuring better blood sugar level control and lower blood pressure.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a reduction in bone tissue mass that increases the risk of fractures. There are two types. Type 1 occurs in middle-aged, post-menopausal women and type II in the elderly. Extra virgin olive oil appears to have a favourable effect on bone calcification, and bone mineralisation is better the more extra virgin olive oil is consumed. It helps calcium absorption, thereby playing and important part during the period of growth and the prevention of osteoporosis.
The ever-expanding list of potential health benefits from following a Mediterranean Diet in general and, more specifically, from including extra virgin olive oil in your diet continues. These include benefits to fertility and conception, anti-inflammatory properties, prevention of Strokes, Cancer and treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Buy The Highest Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil You Can
However, buying the right kind of olive oil is extremely important. Extra virgin olive oil retains some of the antioxidants and bioactive compounds from olives. For this reason, it’s considered healthier than the more refined variety of olive oil.
At the end of the day, quality extra virgin olive oil is incredibly healthy. Due to its powerful antioxidants, it benefits your heart, brain, joints and more.
In fact, it may be the healthiest food on the planet.
To access the 2021 study from The University of Edinburgh in full please see https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2020.111117.