Yet another benefit of the Mediterranean Diet has just been discovered! A recent study has found that people who follow the Mediterranean Diet have better brain health than those who do not practice the diet. The study, published earlier this year in Neurology®, found that older people who followed a Mediterranean diet retained a greater brain volume over a three-year period than those who did not follow the diet as closely.
The study included 967 adults aged 70 or older from Scotland who did not have dementia, over a three year period. Scientists gathered information on the participant’s eating habits and used MRI scans to measure total brain volume. These measurements were then compared to the participants’ eating habits, specifically how closely they followed the Mediterranean Diet.
While both groups experienced a decline in total brain volume over the three year period, the participants who did not follow a Mediterranean Diet had greater loss than those who did follow the diet. The results were similar when adjusted for factors including level of education and medical issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Surprisingly, higher intakes of fish and lower intakes of meat did not affect changes in brain volume measurements, which had been seen in previous studies.
While larger studies are needed, the results suggest that following a Mediterranean Diet can provide brain protection. For more information on the Mediterranean Diet, visit our Nutrition Page and for more information on this study, visit Science Daily.