Years ago, researchers tried using olive oil as a placebo in trials for heart drugs.

As it turned out, olive oil -- not widely known at the time for its heart benefits -- protected the patients in placebo groups better than some meds.

And today, it's routinely given to cardiac patients instead of drugs.

Just kidding!

The reality is much more predictable. Big Pharma quickly put the kibosh on olive oil in its studies and found a placebo that made its drugs look better... and today, docs would rather prescribe those meds than urge patients to use more olive oil.

It's too bad -- because it turns out this stuff isn't just great for your heart. It can also reduce your risk of a stroke.

Researchers tracked 7,625 French seniors who had never suffered a stroke, then broke them down into three categories based on olive oil use: none, moderate, and intensive.

When you see the results, you'll want to start putting olive oil on everything -- because researchers say that over five years, the folks in the "intensive" group were 41 percent less likely to suffer a stroke even after adjusting for diet, weight, physical activity, and other risk factors.

In a second experiment, researchers took blood samples from 1,245 seniors and measured levels of oleic acid.

That's the key monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, and the researchers wrote in Neurology that the third of patients with the highest levels were 73 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than the third with the lowest.

But the benefits, of course, don't end with a lower risk of stroke. Other studies have found that olive oil can help lower levels of LDL cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, slash your risk of heart attack, and even help you live longer.

If you've already had one heart attack, olive oil can help you to avoid a second one.

It can even help you to lose weight.

Some people use this stuff on their skin and hair, but you don't have to go that far. Just cook with it and be sure to add it to your salads, and you'll get everything you need to protect your heart and mind.