Older adults with high olive oil consumption have a lower risk of stroke, according to French investigators.
The Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, has long been linked to lower rates of stroke. French researchers wondered if that might be related to higher olive oil consumption. Triglyceride esters of oleic acid comprise the majority of olive oil, and oleic acid blood levels reflect olive oil consumption.
Have you heard of monounsaturated fatty acids? Oleic acid is one.
Over 7,000 older adults without history of stroke were surveyed with regards to olive oil consumption. Oleic acid plasma levels were measured in over a thousand of the study participants. Over the course of five years, 175 strokes occurred.
Compared with those who never used olive oil, those with the highest consumption had a 41% lower risk of stroke. The researchers made adjustments for other dietary variables, age, physical activity, and body mass index.
In looking at the plasma oleic acid levels, those in the highest third of levels had 73% lower risk of stroke compared to those in the lowest third.
Results suggest that the olive oil in the Mediterranean diet may help explain the diet’s protection against stroke. The researchers didn’t suggest an amount of olive oil that would reduce stroke risk. I suggest at least one or two tablespoons (15–30 ml) a day, on average. Olive oil is a key component of the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet and Advanced Mediterranean Diet.
Reference: Samieri, C. et al. Olive oil consumption, plasma oleic acid, and stroke incidence: the Three-City Study. Neurology, Published online before print June 15, 2011, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318220abeb