Dementia news: Cooking with THIS type of oil could protect your memory

Olive oil has been found by numerous studies to have multiple health benefits.

A study published in the journal Circulation in February found the Mediterranean diet staple was good for the heart, and lowered risk of heart disease.

More recently, scientists at Temple University in Philadelphia discovered it could protect memory.

However, not all olive oils are created equal.

The American researchers revealed that it was extra virgin olive oil in particular that could help ward off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia.

They believe it reduces the creation of toxic plaques and tangles in the brain, can lower brain inflammation and activate a process where cells flush out damaging debris.

"Taken together, our findings support a beneficial effect of extra virgin olive oil consumption on all major features of Alzheimer’s,” said Dr Domenico Pratico, from Temple University.

"The thinking is that extra virgin olive oil is better than fruits and vegetables alone, and as a monounsaturated vegetable fat it is healthier than saturated animal fats."

For the best tasting extra virgin olive oil you should look for one with the lowest possible acidity - more specifically, oleic acidity - on the label.

Oleic acid is a naturally-occurring mono-unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. 

The lower the oleic acidity, the better the quality and taste of the oil.

To be regarded as ‘extra virgin’ an olive oil must have an acidity level of no more than 0.8 per cent, according to the International Olive Oil Council.

“Extra virgin olive oils, such as Kalamata Premium Olive Oil, are  high in Vitamin E, polyphenols and flavonoids, antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals,” said Sally Wisbey, a nutritional therapist.

“A key member of the Mediterranean diet, Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.”

She added that some oleic acid can be beneficial.

“It is a healthy monounsaturated fat which has been shown to reduce inflammation, making it a great addition to the diet for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, period pains and asthma,” she explained.