Olive oil or butter?
While comparing the taste benefits of olive oil to the benefits of butter might be a good question for foodies, when it comes to health the benefits of olive oil prevail.
That’s why a new study from France, where they use both olive oil and butter, says its time to toss the butter and embrace olive oil. (Learn more in Bad Fats Linked to Depression, and how olive oil could be better)
French Study on Olive Oil Benefits and Stroke
The French study suggests that consuming olive oil may help prevent a stroke in older people. The research on olive oil benefits was published in the June 15, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it,” said study author Cécilia Samieri, PhD, with the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, France. “Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older.”
The Benefits of Olive Oil Use
For the study, researchers looked at the medical records of 7,625 people ages 65 and older from three cities in France: Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier. Participants had no history of stroke. Olive oil consumption was categorized as “no use,” “moderate use” such as using olive oil in cooking or as dressing or with bread, and “intensive use,” which included using olive oil for both cooking and as dressing or with bread. Samieri said the study participants mainly used extra virgin olive oil, as that is 98 percent of what is available in France.
After a little over five years, there were 148 strokes in the people studied.
Regular Use of Olive Oil Cut Stroke Risk
After considering diet, physical activity, body mass index and other risk factors for stroke, the study found that those who regularly used olive oil for both cooking and as dressing had a 41 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who never used olive oil in their diet (1.5 percent in six years compared to 2.6 percent).
Olive oil benefits include potentially protective effects against many cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. (Discover the surprising pain-killing benefits of olive oil in Olive Oil or Advil)
In an accompanying editorial, Nikolaos Scarmeas, MD, of Columbia University and a member of the American Academy of Neurology noted that it is not clear which particular elements of olive oil could be protective, while the benefits of olive oil could even be indirect by making other healthy foods tastier. He also cautioned that only future clinical trials can increase confidence in the findings and potentially lead to stroke prevention recommendations. (Beyond olive oil benefits: Coffee Linked to Reduced Stroke Risk in Women)
Neurology. 2011 Jun 15. [Epub ahead of print] “Olive oil consumption, plasma oleic acid, and stroke incidence: The Three-City Study.”Samieri C, Féart C, Proust-Lima C, Peuchant E, Tzourio C, Stapf C, Berr C, Barberger-Gateau P. Dr. Cécilia Samieri, Equipe Epidémiologie de la Nutrition et des Comportements Alimentaires, INSERM, U897, Université Bordeaux 2, ISPED case 11, 146 rue Léo-Saignat, F-33076 Bordeaux cedex, France
The study was supported by INSERM, the Institute of Health and Public Development, Sanofi-Aventis, the Foundation for Medical Research, the National Workers Health Fund, the General Directorate of Health, the Mutual General of National Education, the Institute of Longevity, the Regional Governments of Aquitaine and Bourgogne, the Foundation of France, the Ministry of Research, the French National Research Agency, and Lipids for Industry, Safety and Health.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 24,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.