New Research Confirms Mediterranean Diet Is Good For The Brain
September 3, 2013

New Research Confirms Mediterranean Diet Is Good For The Brain

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

The Mediterranean diet has been known for its ability to trim fat and build up a six-pack, but a new study shows that it does not just benefit the body, but the mind as well.

Researchers confirmed what some scientists already believed, which is that a Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on cognitive function. This study was the first systematic review of related research, adding more weight to the evidence that this diet is good for the brain.

A team from the University of Exeter Medical School carried out the study and published their findings in the journal Epidemiology. They analyzed 12 eligible pieces of research: 11 observational studies and one randomized control trial. Researchers found 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.

Mediterranean diets consist of higher levels of olive oil, vegetables, fruit and fish, and also include a lower intake of meat and dairy products.

"Mediterranean food is both delicious and nutritious, and our systematic review shows it may help to protect the aging brain by reducing the risk of dementia," said researcher Iliana Lourida, who led the study. "While the link between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and dementia risk is not new, ours is the first study to systematically analyze all existing evidence."

She said that their review highlights inconsistencies in the literature and the need for future research.

"In particular research is needed to clarify the association with mild cognitive impairment and vascular dementia. It is also important to note that while observational studies provide suggestive evidence we now need randomized controlled trials to confirm whether or not adherence to a Mediterranean diet protects against dementia," Lourida wrote.

Researchers said back in April that people were 19 percent less likely to develop problems with thinking or memory skills when they were on a Mediterranean diet. In May, scientists from the Mayo Clinic noted that this type of diet helps the aging brain.

However, it isn't just brain function scientists are ranting and raving about with this diet.

Two separate studies published in August showed that the diet is associated with a lower risk of stroke, as well as a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.