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Research alert: Olive oil for your mind!

Research alert: Olive oil for your mind!

My favourite oil is, by far, olive oil. Olive oil is a major component of the Mediterranean diet, which is regarded by many as one of the healthiest diets in the world. In addition to olive oil, the Mediterranean diet is also rich in fruits, vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables), whole grains, legumes and lean sources of protein (fish and poultry rather than red meat).

Olive oil is obtained from the fruit of Olea europaea, a crop that is native to the Mediterranean region. With its many uses, not only as a food, this versatile and well-studied oil is constantly being touted with having health benefits, which is an added bonus to the unique and balanced taste it offers.

Now there is new, exciting research for this nurturing oil! Consuming a Mediterranean diet (a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil and/or nuts), can help boost brain function including memory, attention span and abstract thinking, in older people. A study was conducted with 447 high risk heart patients. Participants were instructed to either consume 1 L of extra virgin olive oil per week, 30 grams per day of mixed nuts, or a low fat diet. Brain function tests were done in the participants (mean age of 67) after an average of four years in the study. Participants in the Mediterranean diet (olive oil or mixed nuts) had significantly improved memory and other scores of brain function compared to the low fat group. What’s also interesting is that the low fat group had significant drops in brain function scores. This research provides us valuable insight into the power of olive oil for its potential anti-aging effects, as brain function tends to decline with age. Olive oil can contribute to that added "brain boost" effect and can help support a healthy lifestyle, especially one that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet.

Vitarock now offers Oleiva Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a premium, Tunisian olive oil which is cold-pressed within a few hours of being harvested, using a traditional method of hand-picking.