Olive oil has long been touted to be a hero in the ongoing quest for good health. It may now turn out to be a potential savior in the battle against Alzheimer's Disease.
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, has already been recognized as being a good source of monounsaturated fat in our diets. It lowers cholesterol. It is high in antioxidants. Its use has been recommended for some time for heart health, and for the prevention of atherosclerosis, asthma, colon cancer and diabetes.
And now, on top of these considerable accolades, researchers are seeing a possible correlation between use of olive oil and brain health.
Olive oil contains oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is a phenol, or a group of chemical compounds, which may protect our brain's neurons (nerve cells) from neurotoxins. Neurotoxins can damage or destroy nerve cells. The particular neurotoxins in question are ADDLs (amyloid-derived diffusible ligands), fibres in the brain which are deadly participants in the development of Alzheimer's Disease.
One of the areas that researchers have been examining is the hippocampus, which is an area of the brain affected by Alzheimer's Disease. The hippocampus plays a large part in memory and learning. It appears that oleocanthal may protect neurons from cell death and may prevent the loss of memory.
If continued research should confirm the effectiveness of oleocanthal against Alzheimer's Disease, this would be welcome news for many of us. Olive oil is a gentle approach to supplementation, and can be an easy addition to any diet. And it is delicious.
Imagine being able to protect the healthy function of your brain by enjoying a little olive oil on a salad. Or try dipping bread or rolls in a saucer of olive oil rather than spreading on butter or margarine. Drizzle a little oil on fresh vegetables, or add some to your spaghetti sauce.
There are no potential side effects or negative drug interactions that we need to be wary of. By the simple act of jotting olive oil on our regular grocery list, we may very well be preserving the healthy function of our brains. If we indulge in two tablespoons a day, we will be doing ourselves a favor.