Enjoying a Mediterranean-like diet could help help to reduce brain cell loss caused by ageing, research suggests.
The latest findings, published as part of a new study in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of of the American Academy of Neurology, investigated a total of 674 people with an average age of 80, none of which had dementia.
The research discovered that those following a Mediterranean-like diet had a larger brain volume than those who did not each these foods. When calculating the grey matter volume of contrasting groups of participants it was also shown that those who were eating Mediterranean-style foods showed brains which appeared to be five years younger than those who did not follow this diet.
Over a period of seven months, participants were asked to complete dietary questionnaires and had their brains scanned at the end to discover how these dietary habits could influence their brain capacities. The two groups involved one which ate at least five of the Mediterranean food components and those whose eating plans did not resemble this.
Commenting on the results, Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There is an increasing amount of evidence that eating a healthy diet, rich in fish, vegetables, legumes and nuts is good for your brain.
“This study delves further into the potential benefits that diet could have, but it does not prove that a Mediterranean-style diet can stop your brain from shrinking as you age.”
A Mediterranean-like diet includes a high number of vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals and fish. It also features monunsaturated fatty acids, most notably olive oil, and a low amount of saturated fatty acids, meat, poultry and dairy products.
Another key aspect of the Mediterranean diet is eating a large proportion of fresh produce and avoiding processed foods with preservatives, colourings and added sugar.
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