Experts have discovered that consuming olive oil can help prevent strokes among the over-65s.
The story, reported in the Mirror newspaper, concluded that dietary recommendations for the over 65s should include olive oil to help prevent strokes.
Experts examined the medical records of more than 7,000 people aged 65 and over from Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier in France.
Participants mainly consumed extra virgin olive oil, which is the type most commonly used in France.
The findings, published in the journal Neurology, showed that compared with people who never used olive oil, those with intensive use had a 41% lower risk of stroke.
“These results suggest a protective role for high olive oil consumption on the risk of stroke in older subjects,” the authors said.
“Showing a strong association between intensive olive oil use and lower stroke incidence, our study suggests a novel approach of dietary recommendations to prevent stroke occurrence in elderly populations.”
Previous studies have highlighted the health benefits of olive oil and a Mediterranean diet, including a lower risk of heart disease, heart attack and death.
Some have suggested that certain compounds in olive oil could have positive antioxidant effects on cells in the cardiovascular system, potentially helping to protect against blood vessel damage and the accumulation of damaging cholesterol.
Today’s findings held true even when other factors, such as diet, physical activity and body mass index were taken into account.
Lead author Cecilia Samieri, from the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in France, said: “Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older.
“Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it.”
In an accompanying editorial, Nikolaos Scarmeas, from Columbia University in the US, suggested the effects of olive oil could even be indirect by making other healthy food tastier.
Sharlin Ahmed, research liaison officer at the Stroke Association, said: “Olive oil has long been known to have potential health benefits.
“It is believed that it could protect against conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease and so it’s promising to see that it could have a similar protective function against stroke.
“However, it’s important to note that a person’s risk of stroke would only be reduced through consuming olive oil as an alternative to other cooking fats and as part of a healthy balanced diet that is low in saturated fat and salt.
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