Olive oil for memory
New study finds olive oil protects our memory and ability to learn, while guarding against Alzheimer's disease
We’ve known for some time that a regular dollop of olive oil aids a healthy heart, glowing skin, and even reduces rates of dementia. And a new study says olive oil also protects our memory and ability to learn. It also reduces formations in the brain that signal Alzheimer’s disease.
The study, by the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, discovered that extra-virgin olive oil guards against cognitive decline. Incredibly, the oil also reduces amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles forming in the brain, which are markers of Alzheimer’s.
"We found that olive oil reduces brain inflammation but most importantly activates a process known as autophagy," explained lead author Domenico Praticò.
This process is when cells break down and remove toxins, like plaques and tangles.
"Brain cells from mice fed diets enriched with extra-virgin olive oil had higher levels of autophagy and reduced levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau."
Olive oil for cognitive health
The researchers tested their hypothesis on mice. One group received a normal diet, while the other had olive oil added to their food. The olive oil group did far better on memory and learning tests. They also had markedly different brain tissue. They also had a greater increase in nerve cell autophagy activation, which reduces the Alzheimer’s markers.
“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,” Dr Praticò said.
“This is a very important discovery, since we suspect that a reduction in autophagy marks the beginning of Alzheimer's disease.”
So, it might be time to add a little more olive oil to your daily diet. A nutritionist or dietician can help you do this as part of a healthy eating plan.