The oil helps maintain memory, improves your ability to learn, and reduces brain inflammation and the formation of plaques that have been linked to Alzheimer's disease.
It does this by triggering a process called autophagy, where cells break down and clear out toxins, such as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which are common in the Alzheimer's sufferer.
Researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Philadelphia University believe the oil is the single most important feature of the Mediterranean diet for maintaining brain health and cognitive abilities, and is even better than fruits and vegetables. And as it's a monounsaturated vegetable oil, the researchers think it is better for our mental faculties than the saturated fats of meat.
They tested the benefits of the oil on two groups of laboratory mice. Within nine months, those fed the oil performed better in tests that evaluated working memory and learning abilities. Their brain cells showed autophagy activity, and the researchers suspect that a reduction of autophagy in human brains marks the beginning of Alzheimer's disease.
The same research team now wants to test the oil on existing cases of Alzheimer's to see if it can also slow or even reverse the condition.