London: People who cook with olive oil are 41 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those who never eat it, say experts.
Older people will live longer if they eat lots of it, researchers say. In countries like France, Greece, Spain and Italy, olive oil is regarded as the classic eating habit.
However, Britons eat higher levels of animal or saturated fats, and annually about 120,000 suffer strokes, it said. Up to 30 percent die within a month.
Olive oil contains omega-6 fats which block the body`s response to inflammation in chronic conditions like heart disease and arthritis and also reduces blood pressure.
A total of 7,625 people aged 65 or more who never had a stroke were observed as part of a study, which took into account diet, physical activity, weight and other risk factors.
Olive oil use was classified as `none`, `moderate` in cooking or as dressing or with bread, and `intensive` when used for both.
"Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it," said Cecilia Samieri, of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, where the survey was done.
"A new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people aged 65 and older," she added.
"A lot more research needs to be carried out to scientifically test the effectiveness of olive oil," quoted Sharlin Ahmed, of the charity Stroke Association, as saying.