Olive oil, the elixir of life… also for the brain

The study that identified the benefits of olive oil for the brain  could only be with an Italian signature. Research by the  National Research Council  (CNR), selected by the prestigious Veronesi Foundation, has in fact revealed a new aspect among the myriad benefits of this essential ingredient, inevitable on the table of Italians and other neighboring countries – a pillar of the Mediterranean diet – and its contribution to health and longevity of the brain. After  the first results, it seems that the oil , by no means only fragrant and delicious,  can counteract and slow down the aging and cognitive processes .

The study was conducted by the team of Dr. Giorgio D’Andrea, researcher of InBiologia Cellulare e Neurobiologia del CNR in Rome,  among the winners of Grant 2021 , a prestigious grant study awarded by the Veronesi Foundation, which carefully selects scientists of the greatest merit in the field of biomedicine each year. Thanks to this, CNR,  in cooperation with the University of Tuscia and the University of LUMSA in Rome  , was able to emphasize the beneficial and, one could say, strategic role for an increasingly aging country, to the point where about a quarter of the Italian population now has over 65 years. D’Andrea – with  his study  ,  currently being tested– wants to investigate the mechanisms involved in the action of olive oil on the brain to confirm further valuable benefits of this wonderful ingredient.

Already  in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration  (FDA), the US government body that oversees the regulation of food and pharmaceutical products,  even defined olive oil as a drug , precisely because of the scientific evidence that this ingredient is beneficial in the case. cardiovascular diseases and cognitive deficits – pathologies and phenomena that are particularly common with age – and also reduce the risk of type II diabetes. However, in addition to this, it has the ability to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.

,Of course, do not overdo it – in fact, we must not forget that it is still a  very caloric food , which must not be abused (the correct dose is about three tablespoons a day ) and which, if possible, should be used  raw  – to guarantee the effect on a healthy brain. but the results are interesting. Especially if we take into account that in Italy the country consumes 500,000. tonnes of oil, similar to Spain, and are in second place in the European Union only after Greek cousins ​​(who consume 12 kg per person per year). This  “good fat”  – calories like butter but with many other health benefits ranging from precious Omega 3 fats , (like walnuts) – is one of the components of the long life and relatively good health of Italians. But what’s new is that it has a healthy effect on the brain. 

The CNR study , in fact,  one of its kind in the world , analyzed the effect on  hydroxytyrosol  – a substance with important antioxidant properties – on  brain stem cells , along with other noble substances contained in this real  “green gold” with  which we garnish salads: oleic acid ,  fats polyunsaturated ,  vitamin A  and  vitamin E.

It is therefore good news for human health (as well as for the economy of olive-producing countries), especially when oil is used  as a substitute for other less healthy spices such as butter, margarine and lard  that  world oil demand is increasing. This is especially evident in recent years. In part, this is the effect of the new awareness about the health of this fat, confirmed by numerous scientific studies, which have contributed to an increase in demand even in countries where it is certainly not traditional food (i.e. the United States and Japan), which are starting to return more attention to the quality of what they put on the table. 

A good habit that is spreading straight from Italy: we have the elixir of life ,  now also for the brain.

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