Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is A Key Component In The MIND Diet

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Combining Mediterranean and DASH Diet can prevent risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by up to 53%.

Updated January 27th 2023

Mediterranean Diet And Alzheimer’s
Mediterranean Diet And Alzheimer’s


  • The MIND diet combines elements of two popular diets, the Mediterranean Diet and the healthy eating practices of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
  • Extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold is one of the top foods in the MIND diet
  • Oleuropein aglycone is one of the chief polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil that is thought to play a significant role in combatting dementia


What is the MIND Diet?

The MIND diet is a powerful eating plan designed to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Combining elements of two popular diets, the Mediterranean Diet, including extra virgin olive oil and the healthy eating practices of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, this program encourages proper nutrition as a way to affect biological mechanisms that lead to Alzheimer’s.

Created by experts in public health, neuroscience research and medicine, such as Rush University, Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham & Women’s Hospital thanks to backing from NIH’s National Institute on Aging, it embraces whole foods and plant-based recipes as part of an overall journey to better health and wellness.  This well-supported diet may help reduce the chance for neurological ailments by following a balanced food plan which includes extra virgin olive oil.

This collaboration was formed to reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by influencing biological mechanisms responsible for Alzheimer’s, such as oxidative stress and inflammation. The MIND diet can be integrated into everyday lifestyle for long term wellness and has been proven to substantially reduce an individual’s chance of being diagnosed with this progressive neurological disorder.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of Top Ten foods in MIND Diet.

Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil

According to a recent article in Explica.co,  The best Olive Oil such as Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil (which has a high concentration of anti-oxidants known as Polyphenols) is number 3 on the list of 8 foods to eat on the MIND diet.

Also making the list are:

  • Leafy vegetables
  • Nuts (including Walnuts)
  • Berries
  • Whole Grains
  • Fatty Fish
  • Beans & Lentils
  • Poultry

When following the MIND diet, you are advised to limit red meat, candy, cheese, butter, margarine and fast and fried foods.

Early studies show that adherence to the principles of the MIND Diet lowers risk of Alzheimer’s by 53% in those who follow it closely and by 35% in those who follow more loosely. According to Webmd.com the recommendation was originally intended for healthy older adults, but in 2018 it was expanded to also apply to octogenarians who have had a stroke.

But Extra Virgin olive oil could also provide greater benefits for your mental health when compared to coconut or avocado oil, as per new research published in the journal Aging Cell. New research has found that making Extra Virgin olive oil one of your diet’s staples could help keep your memory skills intact as you age and may also greatly reduce your risk of dementia in later years.  The research, which was published after conducting various tests on mice, suggests that the purest forms of olive oil can help break down the build-up of an abnormal protein in the brain. While the scientific community has failed to discover a singular cause of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, many experts regard the elevated presence of tau (a kind of protein) in the brain as a main marker for the disease, as they can interrupt important communication functions. The newly published research found that diets high in Extra Virgin olive oil can effectively decrease the build-up of tau and possibly slow or stop advancing neurodegenerative diseases. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Cognitive Performance
Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Cognitive Performance

A study by researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) in Philadelphia, reported that extra virgin olive oil, which is the most common component in the Mediterranean Diet, boosts cognitive performance and could aid in preventing Alzheimer’s.

The study involved mice models that have the three components present in Alzheimer’s disease, memory impairment, amyloid plaque build-up and neurofibrillary tangles.

Amyloid plaques are the result of the excess production and build-up of beta-amyloid, a fragment of the protein called “amyloid precursor protein.” In Alzheimer’s disease, these plaques build up in the spaces between neurons and cause loss of memory.

Neurofibrillary tangles are the result of twisted strands of a protein called tau. In a healthy brain, tau helps with the transportation of nutrients and other molecules that the brain cells need. In Alzheimer’s disease, this protein gets tangled up inside the brain cells, which happen to be dying because essential nutrients no longer reach them.

Alzheimer’s characteristics begin to develop in a rodents quite early on, so in this experiment, the oil was added to the diet when the mice were 6 months old, before any symptoms could have appeared.

The mice were separated into two groups. The first were fed a regular diet including extra virgin olive oil while the second group has no extra virgin olive oil added to their diet. The researchers evaluated the mice’s cognitive abilities by administering tests for their spatial memory, working memory, and learning skills.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Preserves Brain Cell Health

In terms of general appearance, no differences were noted between the two animal groups.

But, when the mice were 9 months and 12 months old, the mice that had been fed the extra-virgin olive oil diet performed much better in the cognitive tests.

Lead investigator Dr. Dominica Praticò and his team also analyzed the brain tissue of these mice, and the studies revealed striking differences between the appearance and functioning of the nerve cells.

Firstly, the integrity of the synapses – which are the parts of the brain cell that facilitate communication among neurons – was preserved much better in the olive oil group. Secondly, the brain tissue in the mice fed olive oil revealed a “dramatic increase” in the autophagy activation of the nerve cells. Autophagy is a process that sees nerve cells disintegrate and eliminate the toxic debris that tends to accumulate between the cells. In this experiment, the increase in autophagy led to a decrease in the amyloid plaques and tau.

Dr. Praticò says, “This is an exciting finding for us. Thanks to the autophagy activation, memory, and synaptic integrity were preserved, and the pathological effects in animals otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer’s disease were significantly reduced. This is a very important discovery, since we suspect that a reduction in autophagy marks the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Source: http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/17281/20170625/extra-virgin-olive-oil-discovered-preserve-memory-prevent-alzheimer-s.htm

What Is In Extra Virgin Olive Oil That Helps Protect Against Dementia?

Polyphenol Oleuropein Aglycone (OA)

Oleuropein aglycone is a glycosylated seco-iridoid, a type of bitter phenolic compound found in green olive skin, flesh, seeds, and leaves. The term oleuropein is derived from the botanical name of the olive tree, Olea Europaea. The chemical formula is: C25H32O13.

Oleuropein aglycone is one of the chief polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil. It is getting more and more global attention within the scientific and medical communities due to its biological properties including in anti-Alzheimer’s disease, anti-breast cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperglycemic effect, and anti-oxidative properties.

OA is derived from the de-glycosylation of oleuropein that exists in the leaves and stones of the olive fruit during the maturation period and is obtained during the pressing of the olives.

The Effect Of Oleuropein Aglycone In Extra Virgin Olive Oil On Amyloidosis

Amyloidosis is the name for a group of rare but serious conditions caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body. The build-up of amyloid protein deposits can make it difficult for the organs and tissues to work properly.

It had been reported that the aglycone form of oleuropein interferes with the build-up of a number of proteins associated with amyloidosis, particularly affecting neuro- degenerative diseases, preventing the growth of toxic oligomers (polymers with relatively few repeating units) and displaying protection against cognitive deterioration.

Or in simple terms, OA provides a protective barrier between health organ cells and harmful amyloid cells.Oleocanthal In Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The importance and uniqueness of Oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil is that it has strong antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties. Its anti-inflammatory action on the body is very similar to ibuprofen, one of the non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs most widely consumed.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin, paracetamol, and ibuprofen, can be differentiated from steroids because they have far fewer secondary effects. NSAIDS have proven to have very beneficial effects in diseases that involve chronic inflammation processes, such as degenerative and neurodegenerative illnesses (Alzheimer).

Oleocanthal, one of the key polyphenols in high quality extra virgin olive oils, could help to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s Disease, according to new research. Researchers at the University of Louisiana-Monroe have identified the potential benefits of an oral supplement containing Oleocanthal.

The latest research, published in Nutrients, investigated the interaction between oleocanthal and the complementary peptide C3a receptor 1 (c3AR1), which is also involved in other types of neurogenerative diseases.

Khalid El Sayed, a pharmaceutical and toxicological sciences professor at the University of Louisiana- Monroe, and co-author of the study said:

“The complement system is an important element of the innate immune system, which enhances the antibodies and phagocytic cells to clear damaged cells and pathogenic microbes. The oleocanthal modulation [regulation] of C3AR1 is a very important finding that will direct future studies of oleocanthal as a plausible nutraceutical for prevention and modulation of pre-Alzheimer’s disease neurodegenerative conditions.”

El Sayed goes on to say that consumption of extra virgin olive oil is understood to have a contribute to reduced risk of cognitive diseases among Mediterranean nations, compared to other European and American populations.

“Oleocanthal has been reported to show promising activities against the markers of neurodegenerative insults that lead to cognitive diseases in vitro and in animal models.”

Simple Diet Tweaks Including Extra Virgin Olive Oil That Could Cut Your Alzheimer’s Risk

The “MIND” diet recommends natural plant-based foods while limiting red meat, saturated fat, and sweets. Observational studies suggest the diet can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 53 percent as well as slow cognitive decline and improve verbal memory.

Research has shown that older adults whose diets most closely resembled the pattern laid out in the MIND diet had brains as sharp as people 7.5 years younger. That’s a substantial difference, since delaying dementia by just five years has been suggested to cut the cost and prevalence of the disease in half.