It’s time to bring out the extra virgin olive oil. Researchers found that a Mediterranean diet may improve brain function in 55 to 80-year old men and women who are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Science Daily reports. This recent study, published by the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, tested the effects of three diets on brain function: a Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with added mixed nuts, and a low-fat diet recommended for reducing heart attacks and strokes.
After researchers studied the participants’ brain function for about 6 and a half years, the results were in. Out of the three groups, subjects on a Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin olive oil experienced the least cognitive decline and dementia development.
This finding builds upon a previous study’s discovery that the type of fat, rather than the amount of fat consumed, affects brain functioning. The amount of fat consumed, however, may have some influence on the brain since the participants on the low-fat diet demonstrated the most cognitive decline out of the three groups.
Although a Mediterranean diet with olive oil seems like the way to go, the study’s results are not definitive due to the small sample size and the question of whether it would apply to the rest of the population. Nevertheless, another previous study determined with conclusive findings that a Mediterranean diet with added nuts led to the least amount of cardiovascular issues. Go ahead and incorporate more vegetables, fruits, fish, legumes, and, olive oil in your daily meals— it probably wouldn’t hurt.