(NaturalHealth365) There are several studies, out of the University of Louisiana’s College of Pharmacy, that find olive oil to be beneficial in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, St. Louis University has also linked extra virgin olive oil to improvements in cognitive function and decreased memory loss.
The evidence continues to climb showing olive oil has multiple benefits for the aging brain. Experts are calling olive oil a natural brain food. It seems to directly combat the abnormal memory robbing proteins in Alzheimer’s disease patients – by countering the accumulation of amyloid plaque within the brain.
The health protective value of Mediterranean foods
The neuroprotective mechanism of the -Mediterranean diet comes from its use of olive oil among other things. Studies show that people who closely follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to experience cognitive decline.
Nikolaos Scarmeas, M.D. and colleagues at Columbia University Medical Center, New York, calculated a score for adherence to the Mediterranean diet among 1,393 individuals with no cognitive problems and 482 patients with mild cognitive impairment.
The one-third with the highest scores for Mediterranean diet adherence had a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and among the 482 with mild cognitive impairment – it was found that adhering to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of progressing to full blown Alzheimer.
The one-third of participants with the highest scores for Mediterranean diet adherence had 48 percent less risk of cognitive problems and those in the middle one-third of Mediterranean diet adherence had 45 percent less risk than the one-third with the lowest scores.
In an issue of Archives of Neurology, it states that diet plays an important role in the cause and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Obviously, avoiding processed foods – especially trans fats and simple sugars; eating plenty of organic, plant-based foods plus staying active go a long way in protecting the brain. But, most conventional doctors still remain uneducated about the science of nutrition as it relates to brain health.
A protective agent, called “oleocanthal,” in olive oil is believed to have effects that protect nerve cells from the kind of damage that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease patients and other neurological disorders such as, dementia. Researchers think this is the secret weapon of the Mediterranean diet that offers neuroprotection. Oleocanthal from extra virgin olive oil, taken twice a day, seems to increase production of proteins and enzymes necessary to remove amyloid beta from the brain.
These findings were published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
The take home message is simple – use more extra virgin olive oil in its raw (unheated) condition on salads or any other food you like. Since olive oil is anti-inflammatory and is known to protect against heart disease it seems that it is prudent advice. But, there is one words of caution…
In a “profit-driven” marketplace, olive oil is often diluted with cheaper oils. According to journalist Tom Mueller, as much as 70 percent of the olive oil sold is adulterated. Even the experts find it hard to tell the difference between low and high quality olive oil. This is why it’s so important to know the source of your food supply.
Believe it or not, some investigations have revealed that chlorophyll has been added to sunflower and soybean oil – so that it can be sold as extra virgin olive oil. The prevalence of this practice prompted the Australian government’s standards agency to test many brands – so they can be certified pure “extra-virgin” olive oil and, in 2012, every imported brand of extra-virgin olive oil failed the test.
The only way to be sure you are getting true extra virgin olive oil is to buy from domestic, small farms that produce and package their own organic olive oil. These farm varieties seem to pass all the tests they are put though.
A new study shows that the Koroneiki variety of olives, contain the largest amount of oleocanthal and other anti-inflammatory components. This is good to know, but the first order of business is to find a domestic small farm that you trust, which produces their own brand of organic extra virgin olive oil.
The California Olive Oil Council (COOC) is the only North American certified quality control program that exceeds strict international standards for true extra virgin olive oil. For more information about the COOC – visit: www.COOC.com
About the author: Blanche Levine has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She has the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in natural healing including Naturopaths, scientist and energy healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.
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