December 11, 2002
Could the Flavenoids in Olive Oil Have Same Effect?
Danish researchers have found that a little wine lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. So why do olive oil lovers care? Because the compounds thought to have this effect are also found in olive oil.
Its the antioxidants in wine, especially red wine, which seem to help prevent mental decline. The principal antioxidants in wine are the flavenoids. Flavenoid polyphenols in olive oil are natural anti-oxidants which have been shown to have a host of beneficial effects from healing sunburn to lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of coronary disease. There are as many as 5 mg of antioxidant polyphenols in every 10 grams of olive oil. Many other nut and seed oils have no polyphenols.
The study was of 1,700 people who had been taking part in a larger study of heart disease. They had been interviewed in the 1970s about their eating and drinking habits and were later checked to see if they had developed dementia. The study found that regular beer drinkers actually had a higher risk of developing dementia. The researchers had no explanation for this.
In previous diet studies wine drinkers were found to have a healthier diet with a higher intake of fruit, fish, vegetables and salad. They also tended to use olive oil for cooking more frequently.
One medical commentator noted that studies suggest vitamin E may also prevent dementia. Wine and olive both contain vitamin E. One tablespoon of olive oil provides 8% of the recommended daily allotment of vitamin E.
For more details see: Nov. 12 issue of the journal Neurology