If you have been paying attention to diet trends, you are already aware that the Mediterranean diet has been proven to be really good for you, but did you know that one of the benefits of this diet is brain health?
Many people opting for the Mediterranean diet are seeking a slimmer waistline, stronger bones, and a healthier heart, but another side effect might be a healthier brain.
According to a recent study conducted by the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre in Rochester, Minnesota, elderly people who stick to the Mediterranean diet have been shown to have a reduced risk of cognitive impairment and better brain health later in life.
The study suggests that a healthy dietary pattern has a direct impact on the brain, not just the body.
The Mediterranean diet is comprised of lean meats like fish and poultry, nuts and legumes, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil.
The study consisted of 672 individuals, none of whom had dementia at the onset of the research, and all of them ranged in age from 70 to 89. Through surveys, participants described their diets and also underwent a battery of tests examining executive function, language, visual-spatial skills, memory and cognitive impairment. Participants were also given MRIs.
Thanks to technology, the imaging provided by the MRIs is better than ever before. Scientists now know that patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease often have brain atrophy. Research has also shown us that cortical thickness is directly related to cognition.
In the study, elderly patients who followed the Mediterranean diet closely had a higher cortical thickness than those who did not. It was also found that those individuals who ate more fish and legumes than others had even better results.
Does this study mean that if we follow the Mediterranean diet, we will not get dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
However, the study does back up the principle that your diet has a direct effect on both your mental and physical well-being, and what you eat really does matter. Following the Mediterranean diet could help stave off the effects of these illnesses or delay them.
The best advice when it comes to eating is to stay away from processed foods and focus on the foods that comprise the Mediterranean diet. Your heart, body, and brain will thank you.