Olive Oil Might Protect Against Alzheimer’s

by | April 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Food, Health

(iStockphoto)

Scientists investigate olive oil and mouse brains.

By Elizabeth Licata, TheDailyMeal.com Junior Writer

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the scariest things in the world, so it’s always exciting to hear that something might protect against it or lower one’s chances of developing it, especially when the credit goes to something delicious, like olive oil.

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According to The Huffington Post, Alzheimer’s disease is less common in Mediterranean countries, and scientists at the University of Louisiana think that might have something to do with all the olive oil that’s eaten there.

Through their research, they’re trying to figure out how exactly olive oil is doing that.

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It was already known that extra-virgin olive oil has a compound called oleocanthal, which can protect nerve cells from being damaged by Alzheimer’s. As part of the study, the researchers dosed mice with oleocanthal derived from olive oil twice a day for two weeks, then dissected their brains.

According to the scientists, it looks like the oleocanthal can also prevent the accumulation of a peptide called amyloid beta, the main component of the amyloid plaque deposits found in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.

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The testing is still in the dissecting mouse brains part of the process, so effects on humans are unclear. But olive oil is always tasty, and anything that can potentially protect against Alzheimer’s seems like it’d be worth a try at least.

Check out some of our best olive oil recipes for some good ways to use it.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.