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Mediterranean Diet: Best Food for Your Brain

You must be knowing that the Mediterranean diet aims at promoting your heart health; however, a recent study suggests that the heart-healthy diet may also help preserve and improve brain health of older adults.

Researchers in Scotland surveyed and examined the brain volume of hundreds of older adults over a period of three years. The investigators observed that the candidates following eating habits common in Mediterranean countries – consumption of lots of juicy fruits, fresh vegetables, olive oil and beans – showed more brain volume than to those who lacked it.

The study leader Michelle Luciano, University of Edinburg, informed that the research was accumulating to show health promoting effects of the Mediterranean diet on dementia, normal cognitive (mental) decline and Alzheimer’s disease. The new study suggests that a mechanism is possible to preserve the brain volume.

As we get older, the brain shrinks, brain cells are lost, and brain performance is affected. Which, thereby, can affect learning, comprehension, observation and memory. According to the study, age had the maximum effect on brain volume loss; however, the Mediterranean diet’s effect was half the measurement of that caused by normal aging.

However, Luciano found no association from meat or fish intake on preserving brain volume. Consequently, it suggests that it may be other elements or the overall Mediterranean diet that delivers the benefit. The foods’ combination may protect against factors such as ailment, inflammation, and vascular disease that can result in brain shrinkage.

Key components of the Mediterranean diet include:

  • Consuming primarily plant-based food items, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts
  • Taking alternative of butter with healthy fats such as canola oil and olive oil
  • Using spices and herbs instead of flavor foods
  • Eating poultry and fish at least twice a week

According to Heather Snyder, the director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer’s Association, the new study was confirming what they had seen before. And the study really supported their previous observations; however, those were associations. Hence, we can’t say A leads to B, at least for this study.

For the study, Luciano’s research group collected dietary data from around 1,000 Scots, about age seventy and free of dementia. At the age of 73, more than half of them had a brain scan. The scans measurement covered overall volume, from the thickness of the cortex – outer layer of the brain – to the gray matter. After three years, 401 study participants returned for another diagnostic measurement. Even after considering other elements that might affect brain volume – including high blood pressure, age, education level, or diabetes – Mediterranean-style eating has direct correlation with better brain measurements effects.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s reasoning, what is good for your heart is also good for the brain. The overall diet affects mental health, thinking, and brain health.

Along with taking a healthy balanced diet, evidence suggests that performing regular physical activity, managing heart risk factors – such as high blood pressure and diabetes – and doing lifelong learning may also lower the worrisome risks of mental decline.

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