Experts examined the medical records of more than 7,000 people aged 65 and over from Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier in France.
They compared people who never used olive oil with moderate users (using olive oil either for cooking or as a dressing) and intensive users (using olive oil for cooking and dressing).
Participants mainly consumed extra virgin olive oil, which is the type most commonly used in France.
The findings, published in the journal Neurology, showed that compared with people who never used olive oil, those with intensive use had a 41% lower risk of stroke.
Previous studies have highlighted the health benefits of olive oil and a Mediterranean diet, including a lower risk of heart disease, heart attack and death.
Some have suggested that certain compounds in olive oil could have positive antioxidant effects on cells in the cardiovascular system, potentially helping to protect against blood vessel damage and the accumulation of damaging cholesterol.
“Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it” say the authors of the report.