The Kitchen Pantry Staple That Can Reduce Your Risk Of Dying From Dementia

Dementia occurs when brain cells begin to lose their connections and die, causingĀ symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, agitation, or hallucinations, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your risk of developing dementia often increases with age, and a family history of dementia could also increase your risk. A small percentage of Alzheimer's cases stem from the mutation of the apolipoprotein E4 (APOE) gene. Some types of dementia are caused by the restriction of blood vessels to the brain.

You can reduce your risk of dementia by keeping an eye on your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Because sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can increase your risk of dementia, addressing sleep problems can reduce this risk. What you eat and drink can also factor into your risk of dementia. Drinking too much alcohol and having a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals increases your risk while eating a diet rich in fish, fruits, vegetables, and oils can reduce your risk. According to a 2023 study presented at the American Society for Nutrition Conference, consuming more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day might reduce your risk of dying from dementia by 25%.

Olive oil linked to reduce death from dementia

The study tracked more than 90,000 people for 28 years, using dietary questionnaires every four years to look at the quality of their diet. Regardless of the people's diet quality, those who consumed more olive oil were less likely to die of dementia during the course of the study. The researchers concluded that replacing your everyday margarine or mayonnaise with olive oil could reduce your risk of dying from dementia by 12%.

Anne-Julie Tessier, R.D., Ph.D., the study's co-author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that olive oil's antioxidants have the potential to cross the blood-brain barrier. "Our study reinforces dietary guidelines recommending vegetable oils such as olive oil and suggests that these recommendations not only support heart health but potentially brain health, as well," Tessier said in a news release. "Opting for olive oil, a natural product, instead of fats such as margarine and commercial mayonnaise is a safe choice and may reduce the risk of fatal dementia."

Other researchers who weren't involved in the study told CNN that there could be other factors that could have contributed to the study's results. People who consume olive oil could have healthier lifestyles than those who do not. Dementia is also linked to vascular disease, so maintaining cardiovascular health can reduce your risk.

Olive oil is good for overall health, too

Olive oil can reduce your risk of dying from many other diseases, according to a 2022 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Using the same people from the previous study, adding olive oil to the diet could reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases by 19%, cancer by 17%, neurodegenerative diseases by 29%, and respiratory diseases by 18%. If you substitute olive oil for the margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and dairy in your diet, you could reduce your risk of death by any disease by 34%.

Olive oil is one of your best sources of monounsaturated fat, according to the American Heart Association. Monounsaturated fat can keep your cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels while also improving the course of certain diseases, including heart disease. It's important to know that unrefined extra-virgin olive oil maintains its health properties, while "pure" or "light" olive oils could only contain between 5% to 15% extra-virgin olive oil.