Olive oil may stave off stroke risk

London: Elderly people who use olive oil for cooking and on salads are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who never use it, a new study has claimed.

The French study that followed nearly 8,000 adults for five years found that those who regularly used olive oil were 41 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who never used the diet rich oil.

Olive oil, a prime component of the Mediterranean Diet, can also help protect against other health problems such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, high-cholesterol and obesity, the researchers found.

Study author Dr Cecilia Samieri of the University of Bordeaux said: "Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older."

"Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it," Dr Samieri was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

For the study, published in journal Neurology, the researchers looked at medical records of 7,625 people aged 65 plus over a period of five years.

During the research, olive oil consumption was categorised as `no use`, `moderate use` such as using olive oil in cooking or as dressing or with bread, and "intensive use" which included using olive oil for both cooking and as dressing or with bread.

A total of 148 stroke cases were recorded during the study period.

After considering diet, physical activity, body mass index and other risk factors for stroke, the study found that those who regularly used olive oil for both cooking and as dressing had a two fifth lower risk of stroke compared to those who never used olive oil in their diet.

Strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, starving the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. It can be caused by a blockage or a bleed.

It causes some cells to become damaged and others to die, and can result in paralysis, loss of speech and blurred vision.

But olive oil helps unclog arteries, providing a cheap way of maintaining a healthy heart, the researchers said.