Boost brain health with olive oil, an antioxidant-rich superfood
04/07/2021 / By Brocky Wilson / Comments
Boost brain health with olive oil, an antioxidant-rich superfood

Olive oil is an incredible superfood packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. It is a major component of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely considered to be the healthiest eating pattern to follow. In fact, people from the Mediterranean region are some of the longest living humans on the planet.

A perennial favorite among conscious eaters, olive oil strengthens the immune system, keeps your bones strong and wards off heart disease and diabetes. On top of these, this amazing superfood is highly beneficial for your brain.

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Why olive oil is good for your brain

Olive oil boosts brain health through the following ways:

Olive oil provides an abundance of antioxidants

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between harmful free radicals and antioxidants in your body. It can cause chronic inflammation and damage your cells, which can contribute to diseases like cancer. Your brain is especially vulnerable to oxidative stress because it consumes a lot of oxygen.

Olive oil is a superfood that’s packed with powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols scavenge free radicals and are largely responsible for the health benefits of olive oil.

Olive oil is rich in brain vitamins

Olive oil is also chock-full of vitamins E and K, both of which are important for brain health. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects your brain from oxidative stress. When taken with vitamin C, it helps slow memory loss and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Studies also show that vitamin E can minimize stroke-related brain damage by redirecting blood supply to affected brain tissues.

Vitamin K keeps your memory sharp as you age. On top of that, it improves your ability to process new information and your ability to remember words, both of which decline as you age. Experts believe that vitamin K plays a key role in preventing Alzheimer’s because many people with the disease have vitamin K deficiency.

Olive oil improves mental health

Olive oil helps ward off disorders like depression. One study showed that replacing trans fats and unhealthy vegetable oils with olive oil can reduce the risk of depression by nearly 50 percent. Researchers also say that following a Mediterranean diet enriched with extra virgin olive oil is an effective approach for preventing the recurrence of depression and improving a person’s quality of life.

Olive oil increases brain chemicals

Olive oil boosts the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) in your body. These are naturally occurring chemicals that are important for your brain health.

BDNF stimulates the formation of new brain cells and offsets the negative effects of stress on your brain. Studies also show that low levels of BDNF are associated with depression. Meanwhile, NDF enhances the growth, repair and signaling of sensory nerve cells that transmit visual and auditory information throughout your nervous system.

In addition, monounsaturated fats – the healthy fats found in olive oil – boost the levels of acetylcholine in your body. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory and learning.

Olive oil wards off neurodegenerative diseases

Studies show that a high intake of monounsaturated fats improves memory and overall cognition in the elderly. Experts also say that following a Mediterranean diet reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40 percent.

Olive oil is also an essential component of the MIND diet, or the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet. This eating pattern is designed to reduce dementia risk and slow cognitive decline in the elderly. Studies show that the MIND diet can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by 53 percent.

Researchers attribute olive oil’s ability to fight neurodegenerative disease to a plant compound called oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is an anti-inflammatory polyphenol that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and scavenge the protein beta-amyloid, which is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s.

Why you should use extra virgin olive oil

There are various grades of natural olive oil sold on the market, and they differ in terms of how they are made as well as their quality and suitability for human consumption. The lowest grade is not meant to be eaten and is reserved for other uses, such as soap making. Meanwhile, the highest grade is extra virgin olive oil, which contains the highest antioxidant levels of all grades because it is the least processed.

To be considered extra virgin olive oil, a product must meet high standards of quality, taste and acidity. If you’re looking to maximize the health benefits of olive oil, pick extra virgin olive oil the next time you visit the store. Make sure that you scrutinize product labels because some olive oil products sold in the United States are adulterated.

Adulterated olive oil is usually made by diluting olive oil with poor quality oils, such as canola and soybean oil. But some makers don’t add real olive oil at all. Look for products with the label “Ultra Premium” or look for real extra virgin olive oil online to avoid buying adulterated olive oil.

Olive oil is an incredible brain food packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. Incorporate extra virgin olive oil into your diet to keep your brain healthy even in your golden years.

Sources:

BeBrainFit.com

MedicalNewsToday.com

ScienceDaily.com

BMCPsychiatry.BioMedCentral.com

OliveWellnessInstitute.org

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