By Kevin Woo
Rachael Ray may be on to something. The Food Network star has promoted the health benefits of high-end extra virgin olive oil – or EVOO as she affectionately calls it – for years. But now, researchers from the University of Louisiana think there may also be a link between Mediterranean diets (which are high in EVOO) and protecting the brain from Alzheimer’s.
A new paper in the ACS Chemical Neuroscience states that oleocanthal, a compound found in EVOO, has been shown to decrease the levels of amyloid beta. In the study, Oleocanthal was extracted from EVOO and was injected into mice twice daily for two weeks. Researchers found that the compound increased the production of proteins and enzymes that are necessary to remove amyloid beta from the brain.
The Mediterranean diet is considered to be heart healthy because it consists of fish, produce and EVOO.
“The Mediterranean diet is among one of the healthiest diets in the world because it uses extra virgin olive oil in most of its recipes,” Natalie Sexenian, of Bellucci Premium, said during an April 19, 2013 interview with Science magazine. “The consumption of extra virgin olive oil can help prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. These two health benefits have been known for years, but the fact that it can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease adds to the ever expanding list of reasons why extra virgin olive oil should be included in an individual’s diet.”