Of Mediterranean Diets, Memory & Healthy Aging

February 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

Olives: Part of a brain-healthy Mediterranean Diet.  Image by sasicd on Stock.Xchng

A new study shows that a “Mediterranean Diet” may be helpful in protecting memory.

Why? It seems to reduce the risk of small areas of brain damage caused that often contribute to cognitive problems.   Those areas of damage come from  (frequently undetected)  mini-strokes known as “infarcts”, and they’re involved in many cases of dementia.

What exactly did the study show? That the closer someone follows a Mediterranean style diet, the less likely they were to suffer from brain infarctions and resulting damage.  Previous studies have shown the diets reduce risks of Alzheimer’s, help Alzheimer’s patients to live longer, and reduce heart attack risks.

So it’s a pretty good bet that following a Mediterranean diet can help with healthy aging.

But what exactly *is* this miracle diet?

Rather than being just another new celebrity or fad diet, it’s simply the way poor cultures along the Mediterranean coast typically eat.  Their diet-styles have been been widely studied, because the typical foods eaten there contain relatively high levels of fat and salt (widely considered unhealthy) yet the population in the area tends to enjoy long and healthy lives.

How do you follow a Mediterranean Diet?

Focus on eating more vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole cereals, olives and olive oils.   Reduce your use of dairy products, red meat and poultry.  And mild to moderate alcohol use is common in the regions, especially red wine (already associated with reduction in Alzheimer’s and dementia risks)

The closer you follow the diet-style, the better… the study participants who stuck closest to Mediterranean style cuisine reduced their risk of damaged-areas of the brain by 36 percent.  But those who followed it less closely? They still improved their odds by 21 percent.

The effect on the brain appears so significant that researchers compared *not* eating a Mediterranean diet to having high blood pressure.

So break out the olive oil, and improve your own odds of healthy aging!

Entry filed under: Nutrition & Diet. Tags: , , .

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About This Blog


A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
  • Cognitive Training
  • Stress Management
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  • Nutrition
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Authored by Tori Deaux
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