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Older adults with a history of Alzheimer's may try to make lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk for developing this disease later in life. A new study from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University has taken a closer look at the relationship between this degenerative brain disease and diet. They have discovered that olive oil - a major component of the Mediterranean diet - may be able to help prevent it.
How olive oil can aid Alzheimer's prevention
"Brain cells from mice fed diets enriched with extra-virgin olive oil had higher levels of autophagy and reduced levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau," Dr. Praticò, one of the researchers leading the study, noted.
Autophagy is the process of the body breaking down cells. This can minimize the number of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. When there are too many of these tangles, signals can be misdirected in the brain.
To see these benefits, clients can follow the Mediterranean diet.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mayo Clinic defines this diet as one that incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish. It earns its name from the region where many people have followed this diet.
Making this change in one's diet can lead to positive differences in heart health, the site reported. Individuals who adopted this saw lower levels of LDL cholesterol. An important component is reducing saturated fats - and that includes butter and margarine. Instead of using these sources, individuals dip their bread and season their dishes with olive oil.
How diet factors into dementia
Consuming olive oil correlates with fewer neurofibrillary tangles. According to these researchers, a higher number of these tangles is associated with symptoms of Alzheimer's. How can diet and exercise affect risk related to this disease? The Alzheimer's Association noted that exercise can increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain. A Mediterranean diet can also offer nutrient-dense food full of antioxidants, which may offer additional benefits.
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