Olive oil should be recommended for over-65s in a bid to prevent strokes among older people, researchers say.
Consumption of olive oil was found to radically reduce the risk of stroke among those over 65 in a study of more than 7,000 people in Bordeaux, Montpellier and Dijon in France.
Those who never use olive oil were compared with people who used a moderate amount, for cooking or as a dressing, and intensive users, who used it for both cooking and as dressing. Extra virgin olive oil was used by most participants.
Those who used olive oil intensively had a 41% lower risk of having a stroke than those who never used it at all, the study published in the journal Neurology found.
Olive oil and a Mediterranean diet have previously been shown to bring health benefits such as lower risk of heart attack, heart disease and death.
It is thought that compounds found in olive oil may have a positive antioxidant effect on cells in the cardiovascular system, which could defend against damage to blood vessels and build-up of harmful cholesterol. The benefits apply irrespective of other factors such as exercise, diet and body mass index.
Lead author Cecilia Samieri, from the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France, said: “Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older.”
- Samieri C, et al. Olive oil consumption, plasma oleic acid, and stroke incidence. Neurology 2011; Advance online publication
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