This enjoyable and enduring way of eating shows promise for long-term brain health…
We all know that what we eat has a significant impact on the health of our bodies, but what about our brains? Mainstream medicine has spent much less time focusing on this aspect of health, but study after study shows that what you eat impacts brain health just as much as it does your waistline – even if you may not see the consequences until later in life. Consequently, more and more doctors and scientists are starting to pay attention to what type of diet shows the most promise in supporting cognitive health and function over a person’s life span.
There are all sorts of fad diets out there – many of which promise better brain health along with a trimmer physique, but one way of eating that has stood the test of when it comes to brain health is the Mediterranean Diet.
Less a “diet” than a lifestyle, the Mediterranean Diet cuts down on the sweets and red meats and focuses on consuming high amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with moderate amounts of legumes, whole grains, healthy fats and seafood, and a lower consumption of dairy, wine, and poultry.
As this article states,
Unlike many fad diets, the Mediterranean diet does not advocate for a large restriction of carbohydrates. The guidelines instead suggest that healthy carbohydrates be consumed—those found in vegetables and whole grains. This gives another benefit to the Mediterranean diet: it’s high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that combat the oxidative processes that occur within the aging brain. Oxidative damage is a common attribute in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The main components of the Mediterranean diet (e.g. fruits, vegetables, wine, olive oil) provide high levels of antioxidants that slow and/or prevent this damage.
In fact, there is evidence that this way of eating does, indeed, improve brain health, as several studies have shown:
The Journal of Neurology recently published a study that confirmed the easy-to-follow Mediterranean diet can have lasting benefits for brain health. Another study of over 6000 older adults showed a 30-35% lower risk of memory impairment when sticking to a Mediterranean-based diet. CNN recently reported that people who closely adhered to a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet saw a 53% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
If you are what you think (as philosophers have stated for ages), then it appears you truly are what you eat! Choosing a healthy way of eating such as the Mediterranean Diet may be one way of slowing the effects of the aging process, and enjoying more of our later years.