Mediterranean diet is good for the mind
Many pieces of research over the last few years have identified a link between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of age-related disease such as dementia, but there has never been a complete review of related research that shows consistencies, trends, or even inconsistencies between the different pieces of research.
A Mediterranean diet typically consists of eating higher levels of olive oil, vegetables, fruit and fish and reduced intake of meat and dairy products.
A team of researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School, supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care in the South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC), analysed 12 eligible pieces of research, 11 observational studies and one randomized control trial. In nine out of the 12 studies, a higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. The only inconsistencies were the results for mild cognitive impairment.
The review solidifies the belief that a Mediterranean diet is both nutritious and may help to protect the ageing brain by reducing the risk of dementia. It also brings to light the need for more research to clarify the association between mild cognitive impairment and vascular dementia.