You may have heard the Mediterranean diet is one of the best heart healthy diets. It’s based on common foods and recipes from the Mediterranean region. Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease, improving a person’s cholesterol profile and providing good fats. Now, a new study has been released that shows this diet could help preserve a person’s aging brain.
The study from researchers at the University of Edinburg in Scotland was published in the Journal of Neurology, and it found that people in their mid-70s, who ate this diet, lost less brain mass than those who ate a more traditional, Scottish diet. Every person’s brain shrinks with this age, but the results from this study suggests that the Mediterranean style of eating can potentially lessen and slow/lessen brain atrophy.
This was a 3-year observational study. The group who ate more fruit, vegetables, and olive oil (and stayed away from fried foods, red meat, and cheese) had their brains shrink about at half the rate of the “typical diet” group. During the three years, around 400 people filled out food diaries and had two MRIs done of their brains to determine change.
According to Dr. David Knopman, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, commented on this study and said having a bigger brain later in life is better for a person, because it keeps the brain more resistant to brain diseases.
For those who do not know what the Mediterranean diet consists of, it includes: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, olive oil, canola oil, herbs and spices, moderate portions of cheese, yogurt, and eggs, fish and poultry at least twice a week, red wine (in moderation). On this diet, people eat less of or stay away from fried foods, junk foods, butter, salt, high fat dairy products, and red meat.
Along with reducing the risk of heart disease and helping brain health, this diet can also help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, certain cancers, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
If you feel overwhelmed by making changes to your diet, it may be best for you to reach out to a doctor like Dr. Kordonowy of Internal Medicine, Lipid & Wellness of Fort Myers. The switches you make can be small so that you don’t get overwhelmed like try to get fish in your diet twice a week, increase the amount of veggies in your meals, and aim to eat a breakfast every day filled with fruits and whole grains. If you’d like dietary help, schedule a consult and assessment with Dr. Kordonowy today. Click here or call 239-362-3005, ext. 200 to book an appointment.