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Health Discovery

Use Olive Oil to Guard Against Stroke

Pour on the olive oil, pass on the butter

En español | Using olive oil for cooking, in salad dressing and to add flavor to foods may help prevent a stroke, according to a new study from France.

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Olive oil may help prevent strokes

Olive oil consumption may cut stroke risk. — Getty Images

Countless studies have already demonstrated the benefits of olive oil in protecting against high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other conditions that contribute to heart disease, but this is the first one to look at the effect of olive oil on strokes.

"We often think about diet and heart disease. However, it's also important to link diet to other kinds of vascular disease, including stroke," says neurologist Ralph Sacco, M.D., president of the American Heart Association and chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "This interesting paper adds to our information about the relationship of olive oil to stroke risk."

French researchers combed through the medical records of more than 7,600 men and women age 65 and older from three cities in France — all of whom were enrolled in a long-term health study.

Participants typically ate a Mediterranean-type diet, which is high in olive oil, fruits, vegetables and grains, and low in red meat and dairy products. None had a history of stroke. In addition to their age, weight and information on whether they smoked and how many alcoholic drinks they had each week, participants described the kinds of foods they ate, including the fats and oils they preferred. The researchers then fine-tuned olive oil use into categories of:

  • No use.
  • Moderate use (cooking or in salad dressing and to add flavor to food).
  • Intensive use (both in cooking and salad dressing and to add flavor to food).

Next: Use olive oil instead of butter to reduce your stroke risk. >>

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