Dementia could be prevented by drizzling extra virgin olive oil on your dinner, according to the new study. Scientists said if there was one thing every person should consider doing right now to keep the brain young, it is to add extra of the ingredient to their diet.
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in cell-protecting antioxidants and known for its multiple health benefits, including helping to put the brakes on health conditions linked to ageing including cardiovascular disease.
Boosting brain function is key to slowing down the effects of ageing, according to the study’s authors from Temple University in Philadelphia.
In previous research, the US scientists also found that extra virgin olive oil preserves memory and protects the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.
But the new findings show yet another group of age-related diseases can be added to that list known as “tauopathies” which are characterised by the gradual build up of an abnormal protein called “tau” in the brain. This process leads to a decline in mental function, or dementia.
The findings are the first to suggest that extra virgin olive oil can defend against a specific type of mental decline linked to tauopathy known as frontotemporal dementia.
Senior investigator Professor Domenico Pratic , from Temple University in the US, said: “Extra virgin olive oil has been a part of the human diet for a very long time and has many benefits for health, for reasons that we do not yet fully understand.
“The realisation that extra virgin olive oil can protect the brain against different forms of dementia gives us an opportunity to learn more about the mechanisms through which it acts to support brain health.”
Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, primarily affects the memory storage centre in the brain known as the hippocampus. While frontotemporal dementia affects the areas of the brain near the forehead and ears.