Olive oil may protect against strokes
June 15th, 2011
04:46 PM ET

Olive oil may protect against strokes

A diet high in olive oil may help protect older people against strokes, which are the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. The findings are in a study published in the journal Neurology.

A stroke occurs when an artery within the brain, or leading to the brain, becomes blocked by a clot or bursts. The brain becomes deprived of blood and oxygen carried in the arteries and begins to die.

Strokes become more common as we age – stroke risk doubles for each decade of life after age 55, according to the American Heart Association.

University of Bordeaux researchers examined the medical records and olive oil consumption of 7,625 study participants, which included people age 65 and older from the  French cities of Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier. None of the participants had any history of stroke when the study began. Olive oil use was classified as “no use”, “moderate use” – meaning using olive oil for cooking or as dressing or with bread, or “intensive use” which means olive oil was used for cooking and as dressing or with bread.

Participants had follow-up exams at 2, 4, and six years and stroke incidents were recorded and verified. 148 stokes occurred after slightly more than five years.
Compared to those who didn’t use olive oil, people who had “intensive use” of olive oil had a 41% lower risk for stroke.

Many previous studies have reported health benefits from eating a Mediterranean-type of diet. "Olive oil is a component of the Mediterranean Diet which has been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease and stroke. It can be included in a healthy eating plan as one of the oils that contains the least amount of saturated or bad fat,“ according to Dr. Ralph Sacco, President of the American Heart Association.

However, while numerous studies have linked the eating pattern to health benefits including lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease, Dr. Larry B. Goldstein of the Duke [University] Stroke Center, and a spokesman for the American Heart Association, is quick to note that the findings of the Neurology study show only an association between lower stroke risk and eating a diet high in olive oil, not proof that a diet high in olive oil will lower stroke risk. “There’s no reason you shouldn’t use olive oil paired with other heathy lifestyle behaviors including a diet high in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and not smoking cigarettes,” which Goldstein says are known to reduce stroke risk by 80%.

Eatocracy: Why Chef Cathy Whims loves olive oil

soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. POD

    I use it every day

    June 15, 2011 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bruinsdude

      Olive oil is good, but the Bruins are GREAAATTTTTTTT

      June 16, 2011 at 08:04 | Report abuse |
    • Bernie

      It does help with strokes.....since I've started using it I have noticed a lot less friction burns. Of course most other oils work just as well so cost should be the deciding factor. Am I on the right blog?

      June 16, 2011 at 09:16 | Report abuse |
    • Dr. John Watson

      It certainly has worked for me. After switching to olive oil, I've cut three strokes off my long game!

      June 16, 2011 at 10:07 | Report abuse |
    • caveman

      Crazy isn't it? .. How UN-informed the public really is on health. You'd think that there should be "human survival" classes in school nowadays but they won't.. cuz basically.. nobody wants you to succeed and have a healthy life. Sickly isn't it...?

      June 16, 2011 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      It thins out my paint, so I can get a painting done with less strokes too!

      June 16, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      I agree with bernie, it works great . My biggest problem is cost too. Unfortunately I have had to resort to using used motor oil, which works ok but is hard to clean up

      June 16, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
  2. Rick

    Do the research, high quality coconut oil is by far the best oil to use!

    June 15, 2011 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marc

      Coconut Oil has high saturated fat content.

      June 16, 2011 at 04:43 | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      Marc, Saturated fat is not the bad guy the FDA makes it out to be. Saturated fat is needed for optimum health.

      June 16, 2011 at 05:18 | Report abuse |
    • Katherine


      June 16, 2011 at 07:07 | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      7 reasons to eat more saturated fat.
      That is why coconut oil is better.

      June 16, 2011 at 07:49 | Report abuse |
    • RabiaDiluvio

      Most of the fatty acids in virgin coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids which go straight to energy production and are not stored. What's more, the lauric acid in coconut oil has amazing antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral effects once the body converts it to monolaurin. It has been used successfully in AIDS patients to reduce viral load.

      People who are afraid of saturated fat have been brainwashed over the years by the evening news and really haven't looked into the research.

      June 16, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
    • DianeD

      coconut oil is way too high in the bad fats, saturated fats. It is also high in calories.

      June 16, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  3. bashar assad

    "not smoking cigarettes,”: Can I smoke something else?

    June 15, 2011 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Oliver Clothesoff

    Really? CNN....please write an article worth reading

    June 15, 2011 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • frontgate

      Hey Ollie, why don't you write an article, or work at cnn. you seem to think you're smarter than everyone.
      Ollie is probably a dummmbbaaasss

      June 16, 2011 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
  5. Chris Slothouber

    All olive oils are not created equal. Even the big brands with European pedigrees have been found to contain only a fraction of actual olive oil. Try to find an oil that is unfiltered. A greenish sediment in the oil indicates you are getting the most bang for your buck.

    June 15, 2011 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jesus

    Popeye never experienced a stroke and he had lots of Olive Oil.

    June 16, 2011 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TC

      lol... 😉

      June 16, 2011 at 07:40 | Report abuse |
    • ser

      this is why i read the comments.....NICE JOB 🙂

      June 16, 2011 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • Toosliq

      But then didn't he always have one eye closed and only talked through one side of his mouth?

      June 16, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
  7. mariabryan17

    Very true that major brands do give out samples on their products, search online for "123 Samples" we just got ours today. You wont need CC.

    June 16, 2011 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. FU


    June 16, 2011 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jason

    Headline next week: Olive Oil May Cause Strokes.

    June 16, 2011 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. feralhiker

    Wish it didn't have that fishy taste

    June 16, 2011 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brutus

      that's what Popeye said 😉

      June 16, 2011 at 08:09 | Report abuse |
  11. Jerry Reed

    Dr. Gupta,

    This report may suggest that there is a relationship between persons reporting their use of Olive oil, but it really is not helpful since likely those people who prefer olive oil to butter, likely have very different life styles, which may include other helpful variables, like exercise and maintenance of weight, that is to say healthier life choices, which were operating but were uncontrolled.

    This is a feel-good article, that may we be true, but who can say? There is quite enough of decision making based upon "if it feels right", such a pattern of emotional decision making does not help people to make better decisions about their life.

    Jerry Reed

    June 16, 2011 at 07:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fred


      I liked you in Smokey and the Bandit. But you are dead now and I am not sure that it is appropriate for you to respond to articles on CNN.


      June 16, 2011 at 08:32 | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      agree with fred

      June 16, 2011 at 09:04 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      The comparison was between people of the same lifestyle – if you notice, all the participants were from the same area. The difference was seen between them, not between them and us.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • Kenelm

      Your website has to be the elceotrnic Swiss army knife for this topic.

      October 9, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse |
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  12. Peter

    Olive oil is amazing! We recently went on a trip to Italy and got to go through a top olive oil factory through Cooking with Dawn. The olive oil pictures are in this album:

    June 16, 2011 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • frontgate

      Let me understand this. You took a trip to Italy and went on tour of an olive oil factory? AAhhhh, nothing else to to , huh?

      June 16, 2011 at 09:06 | Report abuse |
  13. Sagebrush Shorty.

    No one really knows anything about anything.

    June 16, 2011 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Teeph

      And yet, you know enough about what people do or do not know to comment about it. You must be very special.

      June 16, 2011 at 09:52 | Report abuse |
  14. NNJ

    No kidding?....LOL...People know this forever

    June 16, 2011 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JFWilder

      No...LOL...they don't know forever...that's why you see people die younger and younger. LOL LOL LOL... (don'tcha hate people who put LOL in wherever they feel, even when it's not a laughing matter?)

      June 16, 2011 at 07:55 | Report abuse |
    • tb63

      Yes. I hate LOL. It adds nothing. It says nothing. It's only irritating.

      June 16, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
  15. wayne

    7 reasons to eat more saturated fat.
    The studies support eating more saturated fat but the consensus is hard to turn around.

    June 16, 2011 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • frontgate

      Wayne, You just eat saturated fats to your heart's content.

      June 16, 2011 at 09:09 | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      @frontgate, I do eat lots of sat fats and my ateries are clear I have HDL of 89 LDL of 98 and tryglicerides of 66. I'm 68 years old and not overweight. How's that?
      Of courseI don't eat grains and I don't like fruit unless it comes off my peach tree in season.

      June 16, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
  16. JFWilder

    Just watch out for stuff that includes PALM OIL in it....want to die early, eat that stuff.

    June 16, 2011 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wayne

      Funny that dieing early from eating palm oil doesn't happen.
      The government has been lying to us for a very long time. Either that or maybe they are just incompetent.

      June 16, 2011 at 07:57 | Report abuse |
    • Teeph

      This just in . . . new studies indicate that YOU ARE GOING TO DIE no matter what you eat.

      That is all.

      More as this late-breaking story develops.

      June 16, 2011 at 09:55 | Report abuse |
  17. gabser


    June 16, 2011 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Joel Miller

    As a reformed olive oil addict, I have to say I doubt olive oil prevents strokes. Its concentrated fat. Perhaps those who eat a lot of olive oil versus lard, butter or other fats are healthier and perhaps they also tend to eat more vegetables which accounts for these results but fat is fat. The research of Dr. Esselstyn suggests there are no 'heart healthy' fats and so eliminating or seriously reducing all pure fats from the diet may very well be the best way to prevent strokes, heart and arterial disease.

    June 16, 2011 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wayne

      You need to do more research instead of relying on the claims of other people.

      June 16, 2011 at 10:20 | Report abuse |
  19. Brickell Princess

    Don' get to excited folks. Next week, a "study" will come out claiming that olive oil causes prostate cancer or any cancer you can think off. The same "study" will claim that soy bean oil is better for you. Just eat whatever you want. We're all headed towards the grave.

    June 16, 2011 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Kishor

    check it out

    June 16, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Dr. John Watson

    It certainly has worked for me. After switching to olive oil, I've cut three strokes off my long game!

    June 16, 2011 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. katie

    News Flash: Life proves to be fatal.... Any time a study uses the word "may," you know it's a BS study. Anything "may" occur at any time.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Bryan

    It "MAY" reduce stroke? Seriously? You are just now figuring this out? Of course it does! I will tell you the results of the study now...

    It was found that because olive oil is high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, a person's total LDL levels decreased resulting in a lower chance for athersclerotic plaque. Atherosclerosis results when LDL is deposited into blood vessel walls causing damage. As the vessel is healing, plaque forms at the area of injury. This plaque can rupture, which causes bleeding, which results clot formation at the site of the rupture. If a person's blood pressure rises, this clot can break off (called an embolism) and travel to the heart or brain, resulting in a myocardial infarction or stroke respectively.

    Good job... Your study "MAY" show the benefits of something that has been taught in nutrition and medical classes for decades.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Patrick A. Mannah

    Thank God for this new discovery. I love using olive oil and hope others will read about it and try it. It works for those suffering from anxiety,stress and bowel problems. Your everyday diet should include garlic, lime and olive oil.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. wayne

    Mama don't want no peas no rice no coconut oil, all she wants is brandy handy all the time.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Areebah Albert Johnson

    It’s a lovely article. Ann J. Curley has enlightened us with health benefits of olive oil. Olive oil also prevents cancer, reduce blood pressure, it helps to fight against heart diseases. It soften the skins and delay whitening of hair. The Messenger (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) said: "Eat olive oil and anoint yourselves with it, for it is from a blessed tree."
    Are you ready to join the economic revolution? If so, just Google "Oil Trading Academy" and change your life forever.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. USMC79

    I am so freakin' tired of these stupid studies. Drink cofee, don't drink coffee. Drink red wine, don't drink wine. Eat garlic, don't eat garlic. Look, just eat what you want and go for a jog or walk every other day. After all, you can't do anything about genetics.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Larquin

    Gee, they did this study in France, where drinking red wine has also been attributed to heart health, which in turn maybe artery health. So, they give a bunch of red wine drinking French people that use olive oil tests......As with all of these studies you have to look at the whole picture including genetices, like USMC79 mentions. Get a clue people.

    June 16, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. justme

    This is a study on FRENCH people, right? Not fat overweight Americans who are looking for an excuse to douse everything with olive oil which is loaded in calories. Put olive oil on everything and get fatter by upping your caloric intake and become more prone to chronic conditions because now you're even fatter than before from drowning everything in olive oil.

    June 16, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. borderlinediabetes

    Diabetes diet stops stroke
    It is not the Olive oil, it is the blood sugar! A filmmaker showed that a diabetes diet for non diabetics stopped stroke and heart disease. The diet is now used in over 10 countries worldwide. Food chemicals are the cause of being overweight issues ,diabetes and heart disease and a diabetes diet has stopped this

    see here SPIRITHAPPY.ORG


    June 17, 2011 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Ming Law

    This is just one example of how experimental results are supposed to be, in theory, reproducible. I cannot find the journal article, but I'm curious to see how the researches adjusted for confounding.

    June 17, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Popeye

    I've used Olive Oyl for years. She's never let me down! -Popeye

    June 22, 2011 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Robart

    Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a nutrition foods to improve health standerd. http://www.monicasfinefoods.com

    November 30, 2011 at 03:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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