Older people who eat olive oil have a lower risk of stroke than those who do not, suggested a study of more than 7,000 French people that was published Wednesday in the United States.
Researchers at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, France followed 7,625 people age 65 and older from three cities - Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier - for a period of five years.
During that time, there were 148 strokes. The subjects were divided into groups according to their use of olive oil, ranging from people who did not use it at all to those who used it in dressing, cooking and on bread.
When researchers adjusted for factors such as body weight, physical activity and overall diet, they found that the so-called "intensive" olive oil users had a 41 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who never ate olive oil.
"Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older," said study author Cecilia Samieri.
"Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it."
The findings were published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.