Learn How Olive Oil Benefits Your Brain
The health benefits of olive oil are truly remarkable. It is a major component of the Mediterranean diet that is widely regarded as the healthiest way to eat for health and wellbeing.
People from this area are some of the healthiest and longest-living individuals on the planet.
Some of the well-known health advantages of olive oil include its ability to help enhance the immune system, increase bone density, prevent heart disease, and decrease risk of diabetes.
Another equally important, but often overlooked, benefit of olive oil is its contribution to good brain health.
5 BENEFITS OF OLIVE OIL FOR BRAIN HEALTH AND MENTAL WELLNESS
As a key part of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil may be in part why people who reside in longevity zones such as Ikaria, Greece rarely suffer from depression, dementia, and Alzheimer's.
Here's a look at some of the ways olive oil helps keep your brain healthy now and helps protect it from future degeneration.
OLIVE OIL IS HIGH IN BRAIN-PROTECTIVE ANTIOXIDANTS
Your brain uses a great deal of oxygen 20% of your total intake.
This makes it especially vulnerable to oxidation caused by free radicals.
If you've ever seen a cut apple turn brown or an old car get muddy, you have seen oxidation at work.
A similar process happens in the cells of the brain.
Olive oil is particularly high in natural antioxidants called polyphenols.
The health benefits of olive oil are believed to be largely because of the high level of polyphenols.
Olive oil contains over 30 phenolic compounds that are powerful antioxidants and free radical scavengers.
Polyphenols also play an important function in maintaining bottled oil fresh.
OLIVE OIL IS HIGH IN ESSENTIAL BRAIN VITAMINS
Olive oil is a significant source of vitamins E and K, two vitamins with proven brain benefits:
Vitamin E helps prevent mental decline as we age.
It is an effective antioxidant that helps protect the brain from free radical damage.
Vitamin E, especially in the presence of vitamin Chelps to maintain a good memory, slow memory loss, and significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia.
Vitamin E can minimize the damage caused by a stroke by diverting blood supply after the event.
Vitamin K is found mainly in green leafy vegetables.
If you don't eat as many of these as you need to, you can get the vitamin K you need from olive oil.
Vitamin K helps keep your brain sharp as you age and boosts your brain processing speed. It can enhance your ability to remember words, a large issue for many of us as we get older.
Vitamin K is believed to play a role in preventing Alzheimer's because patients are often found to be deficient.
OLIVE OIL DECREASES RISK OF DEPRESSION
One of the most unexpected olive oil benefits is that it can cut the risk of depression.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with unhealthy trans fats from fast food, processed food, and vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, soy, and safflower that are extracted with heat and chemical solvents.
When participants at a large study replaced these less healthy vegetable oils with olive oil, their risk of depression plummeted by almost 50%.
Researchers reasoned that the trans fats have, the higher the risk of melancholy.
OLIVE OIL INCREASES BRAIN-BOOSTING CHEMICALS
Another surprising benefit of olive oil is that it boosts levels of two critical brain chemicals, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF).
These chemicals encourage the formation and repair of brain cells.
BDNF is a protein that stimulates new brain cell formation.
BDNF can offset the negative effects of pressure on the brain.
Low levels of BDNF are associated with melancholy.
Nerve growth factor enhances the growth, repair, and signaling of sensory nerve cells which are responsible for transmitting information such as sight and sound.
Additionally, monounsaturated fats -- the kind found in olive oil -- increase levels of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter of memory and learning.
OLIVE OIL HELPS PROTECT THE BRAIN FROM DEGENERATIVE DISEASES
The last brain benefit of olive oil is that it can ward off cognitive decline.
Higher intake of monounsaturated fats improves memory and other cognitive functions from seniors.
Eating a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease by up to 40%.
Olive oil is an essential part of the MIND diet.
This variation of the Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer's with an astonishing 53%.
If you've ever eaten olive oil and discovered that it made the back of the throat itch, that sensation was caused by a naturally occurring compound called oleocanthal.
Oleocanthal is an anti-inflammatory polyphenol that can cross the blood-brain barrier to clear the brain of the beta-amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer's.
The vitamin E in olive oil has also been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer's.
Why You Need to USE ONLY EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Olive oil comes from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europae) which originally comes from the Mediterranean Basin.
It has been an important part of Mediterranean cuisine for 5,000 years.
Homer, the famed Greek poet, also called it"liquid gold."
The ancient Greeks so valued olive oil that cutting down an olive tree was a crime punishable by death!
Currently there are several thousand olive tree cultivars grown around the world in areas with suitable climates including parts of Australia, China, South America, India, and the United States.
However, 98 percent of all olive trees are still grown in the Mediterranean region with the top 3 producers being Spain, Italy, and Greece.