“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments” – Bethenny Frankel

Beside the colorful and tasteful Mediterranean "bank account" (Mediterranean diet) has, it seems to be a great investment for your health.

Mediterranean diet has been known to be associated with lower cardiovascular disease and delaying diabetes. Recently, a new Spanish study published on JAMA Internal Medicine described the association between Mediterranean diet and the impact it had in the brain of older adults.

Ros et al. (2015) compared a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts with a low-fat control diet.

More specifically, scientists included in their study 447 cognitively healthy older adults at high cardiovascular risk (223 were women; average age was nearly 67 years). All volunteers were given a neuropsychological assessment at the onset of the study. Participants were then randomly assigned into 3 groups: (1) a mediterranean diet supplemented with one liter of extra virgin olive oil per week (155 participants), (2) a mediterranean diet supplemented with a handful of mixed nuts (30g) per day (147), or (3) a low fat control diet (145).

For 4 years, participants were regularly subjected to various tests of cognitive function to examine how it changed over time. They measured things like memory, attention, and problem solving and reasoning.

At the end of the research, there were 37 cases of mild cognitive impairment: 17 (13.4 %) in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group; eight (7.1 %) in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group; and 12 (12.6 %) in the low-fat control group. No dementia cases were documented in patients who completed study follow-up.

Compared with the control group, the memory composite improved significantly in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts, while the frontal and global cognition composites improved in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group.

"Our results suggest that in an older population a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts may counter-act age-related cognitive decline. The lack of effective treatments for cognitive decline and dementia points to the need of preventive strategies to delay the onset and/or minimize the effects of these devastating conditions. The present results with the Mediterranean diet are encouraging but further investigation is warranted," the researchers said.

The principal benefit of the mediterranean diet are foods rich in antioxidants, from fruits and vegetables to fish and nuts that help prevent our cell form a type of damage known as oxidative stress that is caused by harmful oxygen containing molecules.

References

  • http://www.iflscience.com/brain/mediterranean-diet-may-slow-down-age-associated-cognitive-decline
  • http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mediterranean-diet-with-olive-oil-nuts-linked-to-healthier-brain/
  • http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-05-mediterranean-diet-olive-oil-nuts.html
  • http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/mediterranean-diets-are-better-for-your-brain–providing-you-eat-extra-virgin-olive-oil-and-nuts-with-it-study-suggests-10243725.html
  • http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/844593

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