Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier, France—Well-known in the kitchen as a light and tasty way to liven up food, olive oil also has been said to offer protective effects against many potentially dangerous cardiovascular risks like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol.

New research suggests consuming olive oil may thwart strokes in older individuals. And, a study was authored by Cécilia Samieri, the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, France. This trial involved 7,625 participants (ages 65 and older) who had no previous history of stroke and were from three French cities: Dijon, Bordeaux and Montpellier. 

During the study, researchers assessed participants’ olive oil use, which was identified as those who used olive oil intensively, moderately or not at all. Several other risk factors for stroke were also taken into consideration, such as physical exercise, diet and body mass index.

Likewise, after more than five years, the group reported a total of only 148 strokes. Individuals who used olive oil on a regular basis (for both cooking and for a dressing) showed a 41% lower risk for stroke in contrast to those who did not include olive oil as a part of their diet. “Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it,” according to Samieri.

Study findings were published in the June 15 online issue of Neurology.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2011