Mediterranean Diet Has Mind-Boosting Benefits
Well known for its heart health and cancer protection benefits, the Mediterranean diet may also be good for the mind
Well known for its heart health and cancer protection benefits, the Mediterranean diet may also be good for the mind. A new report, published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, suggests that people may reduce Alzheimer's disease risk by as much as 40% by closely following the Mediterranean diet.
Diet linked to less dementia
Often publicized in the media, the Mediterranean diet includes an abundance of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and dairy products; a low to moderate amount of fish and poultry; a low amount of red meat; olive oil as a main source of monounsaturated fat; and red wine with dinner.
This current report reviewed prospective studies, one from the US and one from France, on the effects of a Mediterranean diet on the thinking (cognitive function) and risk for dementia in people 65 and older. The eating habits and cognitive function for the participants was assessed and the effects followed for four years. Results showed:
The authors of the report point out that the people who follow a Mediterranean diet may also engage in other healthy lifestyle behaviors such as exercise, which contribute to their lowered risk of dementia. So it still isn't clear to what extent the beneficial effects were caused by the diet.
Keep your mind sharp
Dementia is a common condition, but studies like the one above suggest there are things we can do to keep our minds sharp and healthy. Here are some tips:
(Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2010;13:14-8)
Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.