When we talk of preserving health through our older years, we are mostly thinking of our bodies. However it is also important, if not more so, that we preserve the organ that is involved with the thinking process itself. It is called the brain. Various studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet can help maintain brain health in addition to weight management.
A recent study shows supplementing this diet with something else can help maintain its health as we grow older.
Now, as you may already know, without a healthy brain your body cannot be healthy. Your brain controls everything in and around your body. Things we have conscious control of such what we choose to do, and those we have no conscious of such as our heartbeat. It is called the engine of life for a reason.
It is therefore vital that that we keep our brains healthy, for immediate and long-term health. Keeping your brain in good health may also help prevent degenerative diseases and conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Which brings us back to the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet has previously been associated with cardiovascular health. However, recent studies have now been linking it to cognitive health as well.
Researchers in Barcelona, Spain, found that the Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or mixed nuts is associated with improved cognitive function. What’s interesting is that the diet typically consists of good doses of olive oil.
In the 4-year study, 447 adult participants were randomly assigned 3 groups. One group was assigned a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil, a second group a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, and a control group that was placed on a low fat diet.
Cognitive assessments were carried out on both groups, at beginning and end of the study.
The results showed that the two groups that received a Mediterranean diet plus olive oil or mixed nuts had better cognitive function, including memory and attention, than the group on a low fat diet.
Mediterranean diet coupled with olive oil and nuts could therefore play a role in the prevention and treatment of dementia. The diet consists of high amounts of vegetables including legumes, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. What is not explained is whether participants received extra olive oil and nuts during the study, being that these are already a part of the diet.
The study is published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) under the title Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline.