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Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Cognition

If the everlasting benefits of extra virgin olive oil haven’t yet been drilled into your head like they have mine then sit down – grab yourself a cup of coffee, put some classical music on, and enjoy this blog.

It can often be difficult to distinguish whether it’s a diet or a particular food that’s responsible for a benefit or change in overall health. If you’ve been keeping up with our prior posts, then it should be clear that EVOO is an essential component to the mitigation of cognitive impairment and cognitive decline. 

Now, there are good reasons to follow a Mediterranean diet if you're looking to keep your mind sharp. Studies provided by the Predimed Navarra trial and Barcelona, Spain show a positive association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and retained cognitive function. Some cases even showed a reduced risk of mortality (1). And, to make it easy, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) effortlessly complements most dishes in the Mediterranean diet.

A systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the benefits of adherence to a Mediterranean diet and health status pooled from 8 cohorts with 514,816 subjects. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet showed a 10% and 6% reduction in cerebrovascular disease and neoplastic diseases, respectively. A 13% reduction in incidence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer’s when adhering to a Mediterranean diet were also seen (2). This meta-analysis assessed results of previous studies that concluded a significant improvement and reduction in mortality with a 95% confidence interval when adhering to a Mediterranean diet (2). 

So, what does this all mean? Gathering information that we already know from the Predimed Navarra trial and the study from Barcelona, Spain, a Mediterranean diet consumed with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) may be beneficial towards cognitive decline and overall health as both studies claimed better cognitive function when consuming 1 litre of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) per week with adherence to a Mediterranean diet. If you haven't read either of these two posts, click here.

The evidence provided by the cohort study is promising. We know neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, are incurable and will lead to progressive degeneration, often including memory loss and lack of mental functions. Although this seems sad and gloomy, adherence to a Mediterranean diet may be beneficial and is seemingly worth a try.

If you would like to check out some delicious recipes feel free to enjoy the ones down below!

Bruschetta

Lasagna alla Bolognese

Written by Jhun Kendrick Papio
Reviewed by Kelly Powers, MA, RDN, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes a holistic approach to nutrition and health. Kelly is a recipe developer with a food blog highlighting whole foods, simple recipes, and her life in San Francisco. She’s the creator of 52 Weeks, a weekly meal plan program that helps users get back in the kitchen and feed themselves well. Kelly is also a co-founder of Olivaio.