Long Live Olive Oil

Time to get “free” and “radical” (#sciencepuns) with your olive oil and walnuts, as supplementing your Mediterranean Diet with these possibly enhances brain power and improves cognitive function.

The Mediterranean Diet: is that still a thing?

In a nutshell (sorry): yes. To recap: the Mediterranean Diet means all the nuts, whole foods, fish, olive oil and fresh produce that you can handle. With a splash of red wine, of course.

No offense, but what’s new here?

None taken. We know you already know about the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, but what makes this Journal of American Medical Association study different is the conclusion it draws between this way of eating and its positive effect on brain power as we age.

Three groups of adults were studied. Two of them supercharged their Mediterranean diets, and one ate a low-fat diet. For the superchargers, one group drank an extra litre of olive oil a week (yes, that is not a typo. A LITRE), and the other supplemented with 30g more nuts per day (walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds were all nuts du jour.)

What they learned

After four years, the groups who next-leveled their Mediterranean diets scored higher in reasoning, attention, memory, and language, than the group that ate the low-fat diet. Studies did not include info on how the first group’s extra weekly litre of oil was consumed. Did they make olive oil smoothies? Do EVOO shots in the morning? We may never know.

Free radicals, oxidative stress, and nuts

If you’re familiar with life hacks about aging, you likely know about oxidative stress. It occurs when free radicals and antioxidants in your body get imbalanced, causing cellular breakdown. Cellular breakdown in the brain = age-related cognitive decline, which is a factor in the development of dementia.

A majority of the food in the Mediterranean Diet contains anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and the supplemental foods that were used in the two control groups are extra-full of things that might counter oxidative stress.

So, high qual EVOO and nuts have positive benefits on cognition.

How to give your free radicals a run for their money:

  1. Time to add a few gallons of EVOO to your Prime cart. Read this from a previous newsletter before hitting buy.

  2. Here’s Mediterranean Diet 101 so you can jump right in.

FOR THE NERDY: All the oily details here.