The Mediterranean diet helps to fight cognitive decline



Healthy diet has long been known to have health benefits including heart health.  But recent research by scientists in Scotland, led by Dr. Janie Corley of the University of Edinburgh, shows that a Mediterranean diet can help make the brain more sensitive.

The Mediterranean diet helps to fight cognitive decline

A Mediterranean diet can help make the brain more sensitive. / ph: pexels

Research focused on the "Mediterranean" diet, a healthy diet enriched with vegetables, roots, fruits, whole grains, olive oil, with chicken and fish replacing most of the red meat. Dairy products and eggs are used only in "low to moderate amounts".

The scientists tested the cognitive abilities of more than 500 people, on average 79 years old, none of whom had any signs of dementia.  The tests focused on problem-solving ability, thinking speed, memory and word knowledge ...

Participants were also asked to fill out questionnaires about their typical diets in the last year.  In the initial test, people who followed the Mediterranean diet more closely tended to score higher.

 Research does not prove cause and effect, but found that diet is positively associated with improving the performance of specific brain functions, such as memory, ability to speak and to perceive, evaluate space ...

Even after adjusting for childhood IQ, other health and educational factors, the results still showed significant brain benefits in Mediterranean dieters compared to those who did not apply this diet.  The strongest link was found between diet and speaking ability.

 According to scientists, the diet has been linked to inflammation.  Nutrients like magnesium or folate are found in green vegetables;  Healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) found in large amounts in the Mediterranean diet help reduce inflammation in the body.  This helps to protect the blood vessels in the body, including those in the brain.  In addition, the Mediterranean diet provides many different antioxidants.

 Scottish researchers warn, unhealthy diets - mostly processed foods - can have the opposite effect.  That's because these types of diets tend to be high in red meat, potatoes, fried foods, and sugar.  Of these, red meat appears to be particularly unhealthy for the brain, possibly due to its high content of saturated fat in it.  Processed foods contain a lot of salt, sugar and other additives ...

 However, it's never too late to change and stick to a healthy diet.  Regardless of our age, we benefit from this healthy diet.

 Dr Corley said: Cognitive impairment is a risk factor for dementia, there is currently no cure.  Therefore, strategies to prevent or delay cognitive decline, by modifying lifestyle factors such as diet, are critical to public health.

The Mediterranean diet helps to fight cognitive decline

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