Mediterranean Diet With Extra Virgin Olive Oil Could Reduce Or Prevent PTSD Symptoms

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New Study Shows Link Between PTSD Relief And Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fuelled Mediterranean Diet

Updated 1st December 2023

Mediterranean Diet Ptsd Symtoms
Mediterranean Diet To Reduce PTSD Symtoms

A new study has found that following a Mediterranean Diet with lots of extra virgin olive oil could potentially reduce or prevent Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.


  • Study findings show potential link between Mediterranean Diet with extra virgin olive oil and reduction or prevention in PTSD symptoms.
  • PTSD is debilitating condition affect many who have experience traumatic events.
  • Peer-reviewed findings involving tens of thousands of females could encourage those vulnerable to PTSD to follow principles of The Mediterranean Diet with the best olive oil as key fat source.
  • Multiple studies show link between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and improved brain health.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil is packed with micronutrients called polyphenols which can boost brain health.


New Study Finds Link Between Mediterranean Diet, Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Reduced PTSD Symptoms

This diet, which is rich in healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, lean proteins, and vegetables, has been shown to have numerous health benefits, but this is one of the first times it has been linked to mental health.

PTSD is a debilitating condition that affects many individuals, particularly those who have experienced traumatic events such as war or sexual assault. The findings suggest that following a Mediterranean Diet could be a simple and effective way to reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms and improve overall mental health.

The latest research published this week in the journal Nature Mental Health, suggests Women who followed a Mediterranean diet — which includes fruits, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil and fish — experienced fewer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. 

New Study Findings On Mediterranean Diet Benefits

Key findings from the study were reported this week on;

The peer-reviewed findings are based on patient data from two studies — one in 2008 and another in 2013 — which collectively involved tens of thousands of female participants. The researchers behind those studies gathered stool samples, as well as information about the women’s mental health and dietary habits.

The findings could help inform dietary recommendations for people who are vulnerable to PTSD, such as those serving in the military, said Carol Shively to, a pathology professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine who was not involved in the research.

Shively’s own research has shown that the Mediterranean diet protects against exaggerated stress responses in monkeys.

“When you put that in the context of PTSD, what’s going to happen, I think, is that in response to overt stresses, if you’re consuming a Mediterranean diet, you won’t have these horrific stress responses that can be very damaging,” Shively said.

For the lateststudy, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health selected 191 women from the earlier cohorts: 44 with PTSD symptoms, 119 who had experienced trauma but no PTSD symptoms and 28 who had experienced neither.

Overall, women within that group who followed a Mediterranean diet — which includes fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, olive oil and fish — experienced fewer PTSD symptoms. 

Plant-based foods in particular were negatively associated with PTSD symptoms, whereas red and processed meats were positively associated with PTSD symptoms.

What Is PTSD And Why Does A Diet With Healthy Fats Like Olive Oil Matter?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition that develops after experiencing a traumatic event. Symptoms can include flashbacks, avoidance of triggers, and increased anxiety and depression, among others. While the exact causes of PTSD are not fully understood, research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors can contribute to its development.

One often-overlooked factor in managing PTSD is diet. A healthy diet can help to alleviate some symptoms of PTSD by reducing inflammation and improving gut health, both of which are linked to mental health. By incorporating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods into their diet, individuals with PTSD can help to manage their symptoms and improve their overall wellbeing.

Around 4% of the world’s population has had PTSD in their lifetimes. The disorder develops in certain people who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events such as severe injuries, violence or deaths, but researchers are still uncovering why.

According to Yang-Yu Liu, the study’s author, the gut microbiome — or the microorganisms, including bacteria, that live in the digestive tract — influences both the development and the response of the amygdala.

“That could be the reason why the gut microbiome is important for PTSD,” said Liu, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and an associate scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Several components of the Mediterranean diet — such as fiber and omega-3 fatty acids — are known to support gut health, which in turn can influence brain function.

In particular, Liu and his research team identified a species of gut bacteria that seemed linked to the Mediterranean diet and appeared to protect against PTSD symptoms.

“Maybe those enriched components of a Mediterranean diet help this particular bug thrive in the gut environment,” Liu said.

How Extra Virgin Olive Oil Can Improve Brain Health

Using Olive Oil For Cooking

Extra virgin olive oil is more than just a tasty addition to your salads and pastas; it’s also a powerhouse food that can boost brain health. The brain is particularly vulnerable to inflammation, and extra virgin olive oil contains compounds that can reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative damage.

In fact, studies suggest that regularly consuming extra virgin olive oil may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. So, the next time you reach for a cooking oil, consider swapping it out for extra virgin olive oil to give your brain a delicious and nutritious boost.

Polyphenols are a type of micronutrient found in many fruits and vegetables. They have numerous health benefits, including the promotion of brain health. Polyphenols help to protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals, and they also help to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation. Additionally, polyphenols have been shown to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Because of their many potential benefits, polyphenols are an important part of a healthy diet. Including plenty of polyphenol-rich foods in your diet may help to keep your brain healthy and functioning at its best.

For more information on how Extra Virgin Olive can help protect your brain health, as part of a Mediterranean Diet come explore our range of news articles associated with healthy living.