It’s a No-Brainer: Reach for Olive Oil and Your Cognitive Health May Get a Boost


(BPT) - National Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month presents an opportunity not only to shine a spotlight on cognitive issues but also to check on progress toward wellness goals. Simple dietary adjustments can help keep goals on track, and savvy shopping and easy ingredient swaps can improve overall health while boosting cognitive health — and olive oil is a key component.

Olive oil has long been known as a heart-healthy oil, and it claims a central role in the Mediterranean diet, which many studies also suggest may be associated with better brain health.

Olive oil shows promise

Research indicates that regular intake of olive oil may improve cognitive functioning and reduce cognitive decline when incorporated into a healthy diet. At the same time, findings show potential for olive oil to lower an individual’s susceptibility, over time, to degenerative cognitive conditions or dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Worldwide, more than 55 million people live with dementia, which impacts memory, reasoning and, eventually, the ability to care for oneself. This age-related illness has no cure, and limited treatments are available to help symptoms and progression.

The National Institute on Aging notes that Alzheimer’s disease can be caused by “a combination of age-related changes in the brain, along with genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors,” resulting in a complex disease that will likely require treatments aimed at multiple causes. Plus, changes in the brain often occur well before symptoms become fully apparent, which suggests that early intervention and prevention could be critical to slowing onset or progression of disease.

One comprehensive literature review of studies that analyze the role of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in Alzheimer’s disease “advocates incorporating EVOO and its derivatives into diets as a proactive measure for neurological health.” Olive oil’s natural antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties and are thought to have protective effects on cells at risk of oxidative damage. As inflammation and cellular damage are often among the underlying causes of disease, the biological properties of olive oil may give the body — and the brain — a natural boost in its defense.

Making a simple swap

Consumers can take better control of their health by incorporating olive oil as part of a healthy diet, and it takes just one quick and simple swap at the grocery store and at home. Studies have shown that when consumed raw, olive oil benefits heart health in a way other oils may not. Olive oil can also be substituted for other cooking oils and fats, like butter, in virtually any preparation. Its stability at higher temperatures makes it ideal for sauteing, frying, roasting, grilling and baking, but its health benefits shine through most in fresher applications, such as in dressings, dipping sauces and even smoothies.

Further, high-quality olive oils are readily available at supermarkets from coast to coast. Filippo Berio, for instance, offers a full range of EVOO, including organic, sustainable and different flavor varietals.

This year, Filippo Berio has entered into an exclusive partnership with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, making a meaningful difference in the lives of millions affected by Alzheimer’s. This collaboration seeks to educate the public on the benefits of lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet, that can positively impact brain health, empowering consumers to make informed choices.

Small changes can make big impacts to overall well-being, including cognitive health, and it’s never too late to start.

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