Dementia and Olive Oil – A Promising Link?

Olive Oil for Dementia

According to WHO, dementia has affected over 55 million people globally, and its prevalence keeps increasing as time goes by.

Most instances of dementia are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form.

Even though dementia is currently the 7th leading cause of death it has still contributed to a significant number of cases, especially women. This has placed a heavy burden on every healthcare system.

While looking for a solution, olive oil has been an integral part of several healthy diets.

For instance, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with reducing age-related cognitive decline, among other benefits like improving memory functions.

Recent research and its findings:

A recent study evaluated whether olive oil consumption and healthy dietary patterns could change the risk of death from dementia.

They evaluated a group of people for more than 28 years and their results were in favour of olive oil.

Subjects who consumed at least 7 grams/day of this oil were less likely to die from dementia.

This finding was factual even when considering factors like genes and lifestyle.

Another critical point was that substituting both mayo and margarine with olive oil can lower mortality risk by 14% and 8%, respectively.

Overall, the study suggests that dementia patients increase their olive oil consumption no matter how healthy their current situation is. It shows that this mono-unsaturated fat is good for the heart and brain.

The study was published in the JAMA Network.


The Power of Olive Oil:

Olive oil’s beauty is no secret. It is a liquid gold extracted from olives and has been a vital portion of Mediterranean cuisine for centuries.

However, it offers more than just its culinary uses. It provides a unique composition with a range of potential benefits, so let’s explore more about this champion.

Types of Olive Oil: Understanding the Grades

There is much more to olive oil than what’s known to common knowledge. The main difference is in its making.

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): 

This is termed as the ‘top shelf’ olive oil, EVOO is taken from the first cold pressing of olives.

This is a minimally processed method that conserves the oil’s natural flavor, aroma, and health benefits as well.

  • Virgin olive oil:

It goes through the same extraction process as EVOO but contains a higher acidity level and less intense flavor and aroma.

  • Refined olive oil:

As you can tell by its name, this undergoes more processing to remove impurities and free fatty acids, which results in a lighter color and more neutral-tasting oil.

  • Olive pomace oil:

With the least flavor and aroma, this one is a mix of refined olive oil and one that is extracted with chemical solvents.


EVOO: A Nutritional Powerhouse

Extra virgin olive oil is notable for its different composition:

  • EVOO is full of monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid. The lipids are healthy and related to better heart health and lower inflammation.
  • It is loaded with antioxidants, which are natural fighters against free radical damage to the body. So, they play an exceptional role in protecting against chronic abnormalities.

Benefits Beyond the Kitchen:

The health benefits associated with EVOO consumption are many:

  • Research has also shown a link between lower LDL and higher EVOO consumption while also raising HDL. Ultimately, reducing any chance of heart disease.
  • Free radical damage causes inflammation which leads to a number of abnormalities. In this case, EVOO can protect owing to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Going beyond your cardio health, EVOO can also regulate blood sugar levels, which is incredible news for diabetics.

Including EVOO in your dietary routines is a great way to add some flavor while maintaining overall health.


The Mediterranean Diet Connection

Although olive oil is not the primary focus of the Mediterranean diet, it certainly steals the show. Its essence lies in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fish, as well as EVOO.

Core Components of a Mediterranean Feast:

Food Category


Fruits & vegetablesPowerhouse of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants)
Whole grainsSlow & steady energy & fiber (wheat bread, brown rice, barley, oats)
Healthy fatsMUFA champion (EVOO, nuts, seeds, avocado)
Plant-based proteinExcellent protein source (beans, lentils, legumes)
Omega-3 fatty acidsRich in omega-3s (sardines, salmon, other fish)
Red meat & dairyModerate consumption (lean cuts, low-fat dairy)

Brain Benefits Beyond the Olive:

According to studies, eating a Mediterranean diet can provide incredible cerebrovascular benefits because it includes a variety of foods.

  • Research has shown a link between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and a very low risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease [ref].
  • Additionally, this diet may provide a defense against the aging-related natural decline in cognitive function. So, it can potentially keep the brain sharp and strong [ref].
  • There is evidence that the Mediterranean diet can possibly enhance memory function which will allow you to retain information more effectively [ref].

Keep the lifestyle healthy:

Even though EVOO is necessary, the Med diet goes further than just one thing, no matter how special it seems. It promotes health through a holistic approach through these principles.

  • For good general health, including mental health, exercise is essential.
  • Maintaining social connections is associated with better cognitive health.
  • Red wine is a typical part of a Mediterranean diet and is consumed in moderation. Yet, it is crucial to recognize that excessive alcohol intake can harm health.

You can set off on an exciting journey toward a healthier body and mind by sticking to the rules of the Mediterranean diet.

Please keep in mind that it is not just about what you eat but also about living a healthy lifestyle.


What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

Here is a link to My Facebook Page. You can also contact me by email at or at My Twitter Account
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