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Olive Oil or Nuts May Protect Brain

Olive oil or nuts added to a Mediterranean diet may support cognition.

A randomized, blinded trial in Spain has found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or mixed nuts may improve cognition compared with a low-fat diet. This study followed 522 adults at risk for vascular events for 6.5 years. Olive oil and nuts contain antioxidant properties that may protect against neurodegeneration caused by oxidative stress.

PositiveTip: A Mediterranean dietary pattern has many proven health advantages. Adding moderate amounts of olive oil or nuts might improve it further.

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Antioxidants in Walnuts Improve Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

Antioxidants in walnuts improve the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Walnuts used to replace a third of the olive oil and avocado fat in a Mediterranean diet for four weeks was shown to improve blood cholesterol, LDL levels and vascular function in men and women with high cholesterol. Blood levels of one form of vitamin E doubled.  This study provides evidence that the antioxidants and the n-3 fatty acids in walnuts can improve the effect of the Mediterranean diet.

PositiveTip: Try adding a few walnuts to your salads or replacing a poor snack of junk food with a handful of walnuts to improve your heart health.

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Olive Oil may Reduce Risk for Ischemic Stroke

Large French study suggests that olive oil use by elders may reduce stroke risk.

Olive oil use was estimated by dietary recall in some 7600 French subjects 65 years or older who were followed for 5 years. When compared with non-users of olive oil, there was a 41% lower risk for ischemic stroke among the users, although this difference was barely significant (p=0.03). These results suggest there may be a protective role for oleic acid, the predominant fatty acid in olive oil.

PositiveTip: Replacing other fats with olive oil may be protective for the risk of ischemic stroke in elders.