I am willing to admit that I’m struggling with names. I was never very good at it, but it’s clearly worse. More and more often, I will begin to introduce someone who I’ve known for years and find the mental rolodex empty right after I say, “I’d like you to meet my good friend…uh…”

My 98-year-old mother has a better memory than I do. I recently read, “The Age Proof Brain”, and then gave it to my nonagenarian Mother who reads voraciously. When I went home to visit her a week later, she had a pantry full of avocados and sweet potatoes (she still drives to the store to do her grocery shopping), which were recommended as brain food in the book. After this study, I am sure she will be adding olive oil, and so will I.

Harvard scientists recently published an article in JAMA Network Open which reports that a daily spoonful of olive oil could lower a person’s risk of dying from dementia. The study, which observed more than 92,000 adults over 28 years, showed that consuming at least 7 grams (around half a tablespoon) of olive oil daily was associated with a 28% lower risk of dementia-related death, compared with those who never or rarely ate olive oil. This relationship remained significant after adjusting for diet quality (e.g., a Mediterranean diet), and after accounting for APOE4 (apolipoprotein E, type 4)* gene status. Replacing 5 g (about 1 teaspoon) of margarine and mayonnaise with the equivalent amount of olive oil daily was associated with an 8-14% lower risk of dementia mortality. Interestingly, substitutions for other vegetable oils or butter were not significant.

I am pretty sure that when I go visit Mom next, she will serve me an avocado doused in olive oil. She worries about my brain.


*Here’s more information about why the APOE4 gene enhances Alzheimer’s risk. (Mom, I know you read this blog…)