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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 6:35 EDT

Lower Stroke Risk For Olive Oil Consumers

June 16, 2011

A study reported in the journal Neurology is hinting that the well-known connection between consumption of olive oil and heart disease might extend to stroke as well, Reuters is reporting.

Olive oil is a large part of the so-called Mediterranean diet, that some clinical trials have suggested helps control risk factors for heart disease, like high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and elevated levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Researchers included 7,625 French adults age 65 and older in the study who reported on their diets and other lifestyle factors. Those who said they used olive oil for both cooking and as a dressing were considered “intensive users.”

Over the next five to six years, those intensive users suffered strokes at a rate of 0.3 percent per year, compared with just over 0.5 percent among non-users, and 0.4 percent among moderate users.

Dr. C©cilia Samier of the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Bordeaux, France, and the author of the study, told The Telegraph, “Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older. Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it.”

The study found, after considering diet, physical activity, body mass index and other risk factors for stroke, that those who regularly used olive oil for both cooking and as dressing had a two fifth lower risk of stroke compared to those who never used olive oil in their diet.

Commenting on the study, published in Neurology, Sharlin Ahmed of the Stroke Association, explained to BBC News, “Olive oil has long been known to have potential health benefits. It is believed that it could protect against conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease and so it’s promising to see that it could have a similar protective function against stroke.”

“However, it’s important to note that a person’s risk of stroke would only be reduced through consuming olive oil as an alternative to other cooking fats and as part of a healthy balanced diet that is low in saturated fat and salt.”

“This is also a study based on responses from the public and not a clinical trial. A lot more research therefore needs to be carried out to scientifically test the effectiveness of olive oil as an ingredient that can protect against stroke.”

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