Extra virgin olive oil boosts cognitive function, new trial

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olive-oil-on-salad(NaturalHealth365) The Mediterranean diet has long been considered a heart-healthy diet, which consists of legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and healthy fats, including olive oil. And it turns out that olive oil could be key in the health benefits it offers.

A recent trial found that consuming extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) boosts cognitive function, making a case for using long-term intervention with the oil to boost brain health and performance. What was surprising was how supplementing with EVOO stacked up against following the Mediterranean diet alone.

Surprising brain function results delivered by using EVOO

According to researchers, whose work was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in October 2020, they wanted to learn more about the effects of Greek High Phenolic Early Harvest (HP-EH) extra virgin olive oil as compared to moderate phenolic EVOO and simply following the Mediterranean diet in individuals dealing with mild cognitive impairment.

Scientists took three groups of people with mild cognitive impairment, gave one group the HP-EH extra virgin olive oil daily, another group the moderate phenolic EVOO daily, and the third group followed instructions for the Mediterranean diet.

At the end of the trial, they found that the group with the best performance was the group that was giving the HP-EH extra virgin olive oil each day.  They had improved cognitive performance in nearly every area that was tested, leading researchers to conclude that long-term intervention with EVOO offers significant improvements in overall cognitive function.

Additional health benefits of extra virgin olive oil

Beyond boosting brain health and improving cognitive function, EVOO offers many other health benefits that make it worth adding to your diet or even taking as a supplement. Studies show that regular consumption of EVOO helps reduce triglyceride levels, an important step for preventing heart disease.

It’s also been found to help prevent blood clots and strokes, supporting healthy cholesterol levels that can keep platelets from sticking together and causing clots. The monounsaturated fats found in the oil are anti-inflammatory as well, reducing inflammation and boosting the health of cardiovascular tissues, which helps lower the risk of heart disease.

Researchers have also discovered that EVOO has antimicrobial effects against the bacteria that cause peptic ulcers, while other studies show that regular olive oil consumption results in stronger bones and reduced risk of fractures. Previous studies also found that EVOO protects the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation, which may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

What’s the best way to get the benefits of extra virgin olive oil?  Experts usually recommend getting between one to four tablespoons daily.

You can use it on salads, drizzle it on veggies when you roast or sauté them, or use it when whipping up your favorite dips, spreads, pesto, or hummus.  Just make sure you purchase extra virgin olive oil that’s been cold-pressed to ensure the valuable fatty acids, polyphenols, and nutrients aren’t destroyed during processing.

Editor’s note: You may be interested in this article, “The Top 5 olive oils to protect your heart” – which includes my favorite brand.  And, no, I do not have any financial incentive to give you this information.

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