Olive oil may reduce risk of death from dementia

Olive oil

May 14, 2024—People who incorporate olive oil into their everyday diet may decrease their risk of dementia-related death, according to a new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study was published on May 6 in JAMA Network Open. Corresponding author was Anne-Julie Tessier, research associate in the Department of Nutrition.

“Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and contains compounds with antioxidant activity that may play a protective role for the brain,” Tessier said in a May 6 UPI article about the study.

Previously, olive oil’s association with dementia mortality was unknown. To fill this gap, Tessier and her co-authors analyzed the diets and health outcomes of 92,383 American adults enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Participants reported on their food habits, including olive oil intake, every four years for 28 years. The researchers categorized them as consuming olive oil never or less than once per month; consuming up to 4.5 grams of olive oil per day; consuming between 4.6 and 7 grams per day; or consuming more than 7 grams per day. Over the course of the study period, there were 4,571 dementia-related deaths.

The study found that, regardless of genetic predisposition and overall diet quality, participants who consumed at least 7 grams of olive oil per day had a 28% lower risk of dementia-related death compared to participants who never or rarely consumed olive oil.

“We designed this analysis to be particularly robust,” Tessier told UPI. “By repeatedly measuring diet and accounting for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors in our statistical models, we were able to isolate as much as possible the effect that olive oil consumption may have on dementia mortality. For example, people who use olive oil for cooking or as a dressing typically have an overall better quality of their diet, but interestingly, we found the association to be regardless of this factor. This suggests a specific benefit associated with olive oil consumption itself.”

Read the study: Consumption of Olive Oil and Diet Quality and Risk of Dementia-Related Death

Read the UPI article: Olive oil could help reduce risk of dying from dementia, Harvard study says

Photo: iStock/dulezidar