Want to keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay? A new study suggests upping your intake of olive oil.
While the Mediterranean liquid gold has long been touted for its multiple health benefits, a team of US scientists from the University of Louisiana has identified a specific component in olive oil that they say protects nerve cells from damage brought on by Alzheimer’s disease.
Their research stems from a larger trend observed in the worldwide prevalence of the cognitive illness: While it’s estimated that 30 million people suffer from the disease around the world, rates are notably lower in Mediterranean countries.
And though scientists had long attributed the trend to the high consumption of healthy, monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, the latest study, released by the American Chemical Society last week, identifies a substance called oleocanthal that was observed to protect against the leading cause of Alzheimer’s in the brain: the accumulation of peptide beta-amyloid.
The findings were published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
In animal studies, scientists found that oleocanthal worked by boosting the production of proteins and key enzymes believed to be critical in removing the beta-amyloid in the brain.
“Extra-virgin olive oil-derived oleocanthal associated with the consumption of Mediterranean diet has the potential to reduce the risk of AD or related neurodegenerative dementias,” the report concludes.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, another study found that olive oil is an effective way of satiating hunger pangs and curbing the munchies. For their research, Austrian researchers fed participants yogurt enriched with lard, butterfat, rapeseed oil or olive oil.
The result? Olive oil had the biggest satiety effect.
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