Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Something to Remember

Need another reason to make olive oil a staple in your diet? If its antioxidant-giving, inflammation-busting, and cell-defending powers aren't enough, maybe its potential to fight Alzheimer's disease will win you over. Researchers have discovered a compound in extra-virgin olive oil that may protect the brain from the most common form of dementia.

Protection from Brain Snarls
Alzheimer's disease is associated with a change of tau protein in nerve cells. It clumps together to form snarled, spaghetti-like structures, which choke the life out of neurons, damage synapses, and kill off brain function in areas associated with memory retention one tiny piece at a time. Think of it like a cell phone carrier with spotty coverage. Your synapses help pass info from one nerve cell to the next so when they're damaged, they can't properly relay messages, which can lead to memory loss, depression, personality changes, and declining cognitive function. It's the equivalent of dropped calls. (Related: Keep your brain sharp with these word games.)

Enter extra-virgin olive oil. A compound in this common cooking aid, called oleocanthal, alters the structure of the snarls in a way that keeps them from binding to the synapses. So, in addition to satisfying your taste buds, it reduces the chance of nerve-cell damage and protects your gray matter. How can you resist? (Related: Discover seven other ways to prevent Alzheimer's disease.)


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