Consumption of Mediterranean diet has been linked to improved brain
and heart health, as well as a reduced risk of dementia, especially in
Mediterranean diet is one that is rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, olive oil and oily fish.
study, published in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society,
discouraged processed foods, fried and fast foods, snack foods, red
meat, poultry and whole-fat dairy foods.
The healthy foods
encouraged include green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale;
other vegetables, such as red peppers, squash and broccoli; nuts,
berries, particularly blueberries and strawberries; beans, lentils and
soybeans; whole grains, seafood, poultry, olive oil, and wine (in
The study examined data from 5,907 older people with
an average age of almost 68 who had enrolled in a study on health in
All the participants had filled out questionnaires
about their eating habits, while the researchers measured their thinking
skills, particularly their memory and ability to concentrate.
They found that those who ate Mediterranean diet scored significantly better than those who ate a less healthy diet.
Participants who followed a Mediterranean-style diet had a 35% lower risk of scoring poorly on tests for thinking ability.
findings also revealed that those who ate a moderate
Mediterranean-style diet had 15% lower risk of doing poorly on cognitive
The researchers noted that Mediterranean diet is rich in
antioxidants, monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, and is also low
in saturated fat.
“This research builds on growing evidence
suggesting that following a Mediterranean-style diet may hold valuable
health benefits as we enter our later years,” David Reynolds, chief
scientific officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said in a statement.
studies like these can be useful for highlighting factors linked to
healthy ageing, but this type of research can’t definitively answer
whether specific diets can prevent dementia.
risk reduction efforts are exploring ways to support people in mid-life
to adopt healthier diets, as this may help build resilience to
conditions such as dementia.
“While we know there are positive
lifestyle changes that can impact dementia risk, it’s important to
remember that dementia is caused by complex brain diseases influenced by
age and genetics as well as lifestyle.”