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Recent Studies Suggest Mediterranean Foods May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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A new research suggests that eating Mediterranean foods could help to slow the process of brain shrinking in later life and prevent cognitive decline, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The results of the study revealed that in a group of 562 Scots in their 70s, those whose consumption patterns more closely followed the Mediterranean diet experienced, on average, half the brain shrinkage that was normal for the group over a three-year period.

Dr. Michelle Luciano from the University of Edinburgh, author of the study, said

As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells which can affect learning and memory. This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health … and may be able to provide long-term protection to the brain.

The diet is centered on eating the traditional foods of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, France and Spain. The diet mostly consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, cereal grains, olive oil, red wine and fish.

Cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra says, “The key components of a Mediterranean diet are lots of vegetables, olive oil, oily fish and nuts, with no calorie restrictions. Combine that with cutting down on sugar, which was traditionally a rarity in the region, and you’ve got the base of the Mediterranean diet right. And if you get the base right you can eat a little of whatever else you like.”

Aside from the study from the University of Edinburgh, another research from Columbia University found that following a Mediterranean diet could help preserve brain cells as people age, slowing down the rate at which the brain shrinks by five years. The findings of this research add weight to the theory that Mediterranean foods can stave off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Doctor Yian Gu, study author from Columbia University, said: “These results are exciting, as they raise the possibility that people may potentially prevent brain shrinking and the effects of ageing on the brain simply by following a healthy diet.”

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