a plate with fish and veggies

You don’t have to live near the Mediterranean Sea to get benefit from a Mediterranean-style diet. This eating pattern that can help your heart may also boost your brain and help it maintain its size. A new study of 967 older adults in Scotland found that those consuming more fruits, vegetables, olive oil, beans, fish and whole grains had less brain shrinkage over three years.

A Mediterranean-Type Diet and Your Brain:

In the study, 562 people without dementia went through MRI imaging of the brain when they were 73. Four hundred of them had a second MRI scan three years later when they were 76.

Those whose usual dietary habits did not follow Mediterranean diet recommendations lost more brain volume in those three years. Fish and meat consumption was not related to changes in brain volume.

What the Study Did NOT Show:

This study of older Scots wasn’t able to determine which component of the Mediterranean diet is most protective. It is possible that a combination of fresh produce and olive oil is required. It also did not establish a causal connection between diet and brain volume, as it was not a randomized trial.

The researchers did not report cognitive testing results on these subjects. As a result, we don’t know if bigger brain volume indicates better brain power.

The study does suggest, however, that the Mediterranean diet that helps your heart can also give your brain a boost.

Neurology, Jan. 4, 2017

If you would like to follow a Mediterranean-style diet to benefit your brain, you may be interested in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. In it, we provide details on the Mediterranean diet and what to eat to follow this eating pattern.

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