What’s a Mediterranean Diet Look Like?
Essentially, the Mediterranean diet consists of fresh vegetables, fruit and the occasional drink. Instead of overly processed foods, the Mediterranean diet promotes fresh salads dressed with olive oil, plenty of fresh fruit, hummus, beans and pasta.
Studies Show Improved Brain Health with the Mediterranean Diet
It’s well-known in the medical community that everyone’s brain shrinks in volume as they get older. Unfortunately, smaller brains are more prone to brain diseases like dementia later on in life. However, recent studies show that a particular diet may be the key to maintaining a healthy-sized brain.
This year researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland reported that a Mediterranean diet improves brain health. Over the course of three years, the study followed about 400 participants in their mid-70s. Ultimately, they concluded that this diet prevents the loss of brain volume while aging. The participants’ brains over the trial period shrank at about half the rate typically expected for people in their mid-70s.
Since the Mediterranean diet reduces brain shrinkage, it helps older people tolerate more “brain pathology – more brain disease – than those who have smaller brains,” says Dr. David Knopeman, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Therefore, those following a Mediterranean diet are in theory less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
Additional research has also linked the Mediterranean diet to improving other health problems like heart disease, stroke, and cancer, as well as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Moreover, people who eat healthily also tend to exercise more and not smoke. Overall, the Mediterranean diet improves health and prolongs the average lifespan.
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