In a study that followed older French adults for five years, researchers found that those who regularly used olive oil were 41 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who never used the oil.
The findings, reported in the journal Neurology, hint that the well-known connection between olive oil and heart disease might extend to stroke as well. Olive oil is a key ingredient in the so-called Mediterranean diet. And some clinical trials have suggested that the diet helps control risk factors for heart disease, like high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and elevated levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol.
High olive oil intake is also linked to a lower risk of heart attack, and a longer lifespan among heart attack survivors. These latest findings support the general advice that people replace dubious dietary fats -- namely, saturated fats and "trans" fats -- with olive oil and other unsaturated fats, according to an expert not involved in the study. But he also stressed that the study does not prove that olive oil, per se, helps prevent strokes.