Diet and wellbeing guru Dr Michael Mosley has advised people to take a spoonful of something every day - and claims it can tackle inflammation, reduce blood pressure and even boost memory. The healthy eating expert who is famed for his version of the 5:2 and Fast 800 eating plans was speaking on his Just One Thing BBC Radio 4 show - and the liquid in question is olive oil.

Dr Mosley said a tablespoon of the oil was of great benefit - and was a key part of the Mediterranean diet. He explained that the health benefits come from the fact that it’;s especially rich in polyphenols, compounds found in plants. He added: “Olive oil is also rich in something called Oleic acid, which, along with the polyphenols, could explain why a good glug of olive oil a day can lower inflammation, improve our memory and reduce blood pressure.”

Dr Mosley said that buying the more expensive version had greater benefits and people should consider it in general ahead of other oils such as rapeseed. He said: “In a recent Spanish study of over 12,000 people, researchers found that those who had a tablespoon and a half of olive oil a day were half as likely to die from cardiovascular disease, which is impressive.

“This association was only found with those consuming extra virgin olive oil and not refined or ordinary olive oil. On the other hand, a 2020 roundup found that consuming olive oil in whatever form lowered blood pressure, though extra virgin had a bigger impact.”

In a study of 25 older adults with mild memory problems were randomly assigned to a daily dose of 30 mls - which is a couple of tablespoons - and it found that extra virgin also improved connectivity in some parts of the brain. Inflammation is one of the biggest issues a body faces with it leading to joint pain and potentially causing diabetes and depression.

He said: “A daily dose of olive oil could also dampen down chronic inflammation, which is linked to dementia and cancer. A recent roundup of 30 studies found that daily consumption of olive oil, reduced levels of interleukin six and C reactive protein, two markers of inflammation.”

Doctor Bill Mullen from the University of Glasgow explained: “The major component of olive oil is Oleic acid, and it’s one of these omega nine fatty acids. Oleic acid is certainly known for having anti-inflammatory effects, and we’re pretty sure a lot of these chronic diseases start with inflammation.

“And if it does have an anti-inflammatory effect, it’s most likely that it’s going to prevent issues in the endothelial function on the art interior walls that will stop build-up of plaques from forming on the arterial walls, which these are all basically made up of collagen. And if it can prevent any damage to the endothelial and the collagen there, then this could be the main reason why olive oil has the effect. And if it’s good for coronary arteries, it’s good for arteries in the brain as well.”