The Mediterranean Diet has been celebrated in recent times as a great on-trend dietary choice that can do wonders for your body. Now a new study indicates it may also keep your mind in top shape.
The Mediterranean way of eating–lots of wine, fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil and fish, with a minimal amount of red meat–has been credited with helping to prevent numerous ailments, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
New research shows a Mediterranean style diet may help you to think better for longer.
Lead researcher Christine Tangney of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and her team examined the dietary habits and cognitive function of nearly 4,000 people aged 65+. The study participants were given two different diet scores, one reflecting adherence to the traditional diet of the Greek population, and another based on how well participants met the U.S. dietary guidelines.
Participants’ cognitive decline was evaluated every three years, based on things like word memory and math skills.
Those who had higher scores on the Mediterranean-style diet scale showed significantly slower cognitive decline. The findings are consistent with similar studies that have been done in New York and in Europe.
The researchers referred to possible explanations for the Med-diet’s effects such as wine’s potential role in protecting the brain from damage, as well as classic Mediterranean foods’ ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation that may be a factor in Alzheimer’s disease.
The research team stressed the need for further study, but as Tangney says, “Incorporating more vegetables, more olive oil, fish and moderate wine consumption coupled with greater physical activity is good for our aging brains.”
The Greek economy may be in trouble these days, but at least those folks are eating right.
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