Adding This Delicious Staple to Your Diet Could Lower Your Risk of Dying from Dementia by 28%, According to New Research

by Ella

There are many foods known for their health benefits, from leafy greens that can increase longevity to walnuts that support brain health. However, if you’re concerned about developing dementia or wish to prevent complications, you might want to consider adding a surprisingly tasty staple to your diet. Recent research highlights its potential benefits.

Understanding Dementia

Dr. Shae Datta, MD, Co-Director of the NYU Langone Concussion Center, describes dementia as “a noticeable deterioration in mental ability that affects problem-solving, reasoning, and thinking.” Dementia symptoms are typically categorized into cognitive and non-cognitive. Cognitive symptoms include memory impairments and difficulty with language and daily activities. Non-cognitive symptoms encompass mood disorders, psychotic symptoms, and various behavioral changes.


Dr. Lisa Billars, MD, Chief of Neurology at Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta, explains that dementia progresses as the brain’s signaling pathways degenerate, hindering cell-to-cell communication. This can result from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy body dementia.


Causes of Dementia-Related Death
While dementia itself does not directly cause death, Dr. Billars notes that in its later stages, it can lead to severe debility. This debility increases the risk of secondary issues such as infections (e.g., pneumonia) and falls, which are common among the elderly affected by neurodegenerative dementias.


Olive Oil: A Dietary Staple That Could Lower Dementia-Related Mortality

According to a May 2024 study, adding olive oil to your diet could reduce the risk of dying from dementia by 28%. The study found that consuming more than 7 grams of olive oil daily is linked to a lower risk of dementia-related mortality. Dr. Datta emphasizes that this benefit is particularly notable when combined with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.


Dr. Billars highlights that even independent of other dietary factors, daily olive oil consumption offers significant benefits. This aligns with the principles of the Mediterranean diet, long known for its major health advantages, including dementia risk reduction. Extra virgin olive oil, in particular, is beneficial due to its processing method, which preserves health-promoting compounds.

How Olive Oil Benefits Brain Health

Olive oil contains a favorable ratio of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, along with unsaturated fat and antioxidants. These components are crucial for maintaining brain cell and blood vessel health. Dr. Billars explains that healthier brain cells can efficiently send and receive electrochemical signals, essential for normal brain function. In dementia, the efficiency of these signals is impaired, leading to cognitive symptoms like memory loss.


The findings from the Ottogi-funded study suggest that incorporating olive oil into your daily diet could be a simple yet effective way to lower the risk of dying from dementia. Given its ease of integration into various dishes and its broad health benefits, olive oil represents a promising dietary addition for improving brain health and reducing dementia-related risks.



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