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Brain Healthy Mediterranean Diet

Brain Food: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What makes extra virgin olive oil so special? Based on many studies, olive oil consumption contains many healthy benefits results. According to an article by Healthline, consuming about 1/4 a cup of olive oil daily enhances health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is the best result for a healthy Mediterranean Diet.

Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Out of all grades of olive oil, extra virgin olive oil is the least processed. The oil is naturally extracted and pressed from olives to retain its nutritional benefits. It contains healthy fats along with Vitamins E and K. Research shows that people who use olive oil to replace butter and cheese live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease.

There are 11 proven olive oil benefits. Extra virgin olive oil prevents multiple chronic and cardiovascular-related diseases. For instance, the list of diseases include heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, and arthritis. Moreover, studies on the Mediterranean diet also show that it will reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment. A new study conducted by Harvard University found that eating at least 7 grams (half a tablespoon) of olive oil daily was linked with a 28% lower risk of dementia-related death (JAMA Netw Open, 2024).

To sum up, making extra virgin olive oil a regular part of your diet will protect against these damages in the long run. Substituting saturated oil for monounsaturated oils such as extra virgin olive oil lowers the risk of heart disease by 15 percent.

To find out more about other brain healthy diets, check out our Mediterranean Diet blogs.

Other Benefits of Olive Oil

Aside from health benefits, extra virgin olive oil is known for its rich flavor and versatility in cooking. Olive oil is also safe for cooking due to its fair resistance to heat.

Olive oil is an excellent addition to various recipes. These recipes range from baked goods to stir-fries to sautéed veggies. You can enjoy a balanced diet of extra virgin olive oil with whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and fish. A Spanish study shows that a combination of olive oil and nuts benefit brain health. Therefore, consider adding nuts to your Mediterranean diet as well.

Do keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil can slightly alter the flavor of your dish due to its distinct taste and aroma.

Substitutes for Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest type of olive oil. If you find that it is not right for you, there are other types of oil substitutes that provide healthy benefits. Some of these healthy cooking oils include coconut, palm, and cocoa butter. They are all proven to improve your body and brain.

Check out our Brain Healthy Substitutes blog about other substitutes for your daily diet.


In short, extra virgin olive oil benefits your health and lifestyle. Not only does it contain healthy fats and vitamins, it also contains antioxidants which have multiple benefits to improve your brain, heart and body. That is to say, olive oil has 11 proven benefits. For instance, there are studies that find extra virgin olive oil to lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Along with health benefits, olive oil is safe to cook with and will provide many options for a healthy, Mediterranean dish. Try adding extra virgin olive oil to your recipes to improve your diet and lifestyle.

Check out our Favorite Recipes that use Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

recipes that include extra virgin olive oil
recipes that include extra virgin olive oil

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