Olive oil continually finds itself on top 10 lists of healthy foods. Just to name a few of its health benefits, olive oil is known for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, preventing diabetes, reducing blood pressure, and lessening the severity of asthma. Now, studies are showing that it may also guard against Alzheimer’s disease, which affects memory, thinking, and behavior.


Olive oil is commonly used in the Mediterranean diet, which is one of the most recommended diets for a healthy lifestyle. Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, has been recognized as being a good source of monounsaturated fat in our diets; it also lowers cholesterol, and is high in antioxidants.


Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which is a phenol, or a group of chemical compounds that may protect our brain’s neurons from neurotoxins. Neurotoxins can damage or destroy nerve cells; ADDLs (amyloid-derived diffusible ligands) are fibers in the brain that play a large part in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that oleocanthal may protect neurons from cell death and prevent the loss of memory.


Since diet is probably the easiest way to modify disease risk, these findings are good news for everyone. Making some simple dietary changes could make a vast difference to the frequency of this incapacitating condition that affects 5.3 million people in the United States. Olive oil is an easy addition to any diet, and it also has a rich, bold flavor.


Just by adding olive oil to our regular grocery list, we may very well be preserving the healthy function of our brains. If we indulge in two tablespoons a day, we will all be doing ourselves a favor.