Senior Living Care Blog

Alzheimer's Prevention The Mediterranean Diet and Olive Oil

Posted by Conor Denton on Jan 18, 2018 10:00:00 AM

The Mediterranean diet is one consisting of low red meat, plus processed food, but high in fruit, olive oil, and vegetables. Alzheimer's disease is a result of an accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain which affects cognitive function and memory.

According to research in the New England Journal of Medicine plus a study by the College of Pharmacy at the University of Louisiana, olive oil has various health benefits. It contains oleocanthal which is a protective agent. Olive oil helps improve cognition and lowers memory loss.

The above study is based on the fact that people in Mediterranean countries are less affected by Alzheimer's and dementia.

Effects of Mediterranean Diet On Alzheimer's


A piece of toast lathered with a sliced boiled egg, avocado spread, tomatoes, lettuce, and olive oil.Constituents of a Mediterranean diet plan

This diet consists of fruits as daily dessert, plant foods, and olive oil as the primary source of fat. Dairy products including cheese and yogurt as well as fish and poultry products are consumed in reasonable amounts.

The people eat about four eggs a week, low amounts of red meat plus moderate amounts of wine exceptionally. The total fat content in this diet is between 25 to 35 percent of calories. Saturated fats are below 8 percent.

To embark on this dietary plan requires consumption of legumes, olive oil, plus organic cereals. These include vegetables, fresh fruit and a reasonable quantity of dairy products. For proteins, one has to eat more fish and less meat. This is because meat has high calories. Once in a while, the individual has to take some wine in moderation.


Benefits of the Mediterranean diet


Less restrictive

This plan is an excellent choice to embark on for any committed to dieting. The popularity of this diet lies in being very easy. This is because it's less restrictive than other weight and dieting plans. The best thing about this diet is a green light to wine consumption when other diet plans don't encourage it.


Good for weight loss

Medical experts, nutritionists, and dieters recommend this diet when one is seeking an excellent healthy weight loss plan. Commitment and following this plan correctly helps to keep blood pressure low. It also lowers risk of health conditions like heart disease. However, it's more useful when an individual doesn't suffer from severe obesity.


Very healthy

As mentioned earlier, this diet includes a lot of vegetables and fruits. It promotes eating a lot of vegetarian dishes prepared with fresh ingredients. Though it allows eating little beef or pork, it emphasizes eating more fish. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables makes this diet very healthy. This outweighs intake of high-calorie food. The trick is to keep it balanced, and you can enjoy a bit of everything.


Olive oil and memory loss

This diet emphasizes consumption of olive oil. This is known to be a good source of phenolic compounds. These compounds are beneficial in lowering cholesterol and reduce the development of bad health conditions like cancer.

Olive oil is a wonderful component which replaces animal fat with unprocessed vegetable fat. However, you can get phenolic compounds from other sources as well including:

  • Prunes
  • Kiwifruit
  • Currants
  • Tomatoes
  • Berries
  • Apples


Wine is part of the diet as well. However, for people not comfortable with alcohol, red grape juice is a great alternative. Embarking on this dietary plan requires keeping in mind that now it takes more time to prepare meals. This is because now the individual has to make meals with fresh ingredients.

People in the Mediterranean region prepare food with only fresh ingredients without frozen food. They are healthy not because of the food but how they eat it. The people in this area take a long relaxing midday break to enjoy their meals.

Away from the Mediterranean, people eat frozen food during the lunch hour break since they're always in a hurry to go for other engagements. Eating more organic fresh food goes a long way to reduce stress level and keeps the heart healthy. Better health goes with staying away from consumption of stress-induced eating.


Mediterranean diet and olive oil on Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's is a familiar form of dementia in people over 65 years. Most times Alzheimer's is considered an aged related problem. It's most common symptom is memory loss where it's hard for a senior to remember most recent events in their life.

Alzheimer's is determined by cognitive and behavioral test followed by a brain scan. Escalation of Alzheimer's leads to irritability, aggression, confusion and mood swings in seniors. Others might also suffer from language breakdown and long-term memory loss.

The risk of this is preventable with lifestyle changes including adopting a diet and olive oil menu. Here's why.


Management of obesity

Obesity makes seniors susceptible to Alzheimer's. The chances of an obese person to get Alzheimer's are three and half times more than for a person with a healthy weight. So, losing weight is a priority for people who are overweight to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

As noticed above, a this diet promotes healthy weight loss management which reduces the risk of Alzheimer's. This particular diet includes olive oil which diminishes abdominal fat leading to successful weight loss.


Management of stress and brain inflammation

Studies highlight consumption of nutrient-rich foods in the Mediterranean diet which circumvent Alzheimer's disease. The menu encourages eating vegetables, legumes, cereals, fish, fruits, olive oil, and nuts. These foods are good at lowering risk of developing Alzheimer's. The fresh organic foods protect one from stress and reduce brain inflammation which decreases the risk of Alzheimer's.


Lowering of cholesterol

This diet plan emphasizes consumption of more fish. This is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids useful in the prevention of Alzheimer's. Fish including tuna and salmon reduces cholesterol and other heart diseases.


Avoids intake of saturated fats

Olive oil is a healthy substitute for animal fat. Consumption of olive oil helps an individual to prevent ingestion of saturated animal fat which promotes cholesterol with a risk of clogging the arteries. This is related to higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. Use of mono and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil, a component in a Mediterranean diet is helpful in lowering risk of Alzheimer's.

Other benefits of a Mediterranean diet and olive oil include:

  • Reduces risk of cancer
  • Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduces levels of bad cholesterol
  • Lowers risk of stroke
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Prevents oxidative damage


Bottom line

The cause of Alzheimer's is a mystery. Therefore, it's not that easy to determine its prevention. Luckily, a healthy lifestyle is the best and only option to keep Alzheimer's away. It's a great idea to consider a Mediterranean diet and olive oil to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease for those in senior living communities and even younger individuals starting to age.


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Topics: Alzheimers

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