Adherence to a Mediterranean style diet appears to reduce age-related brain shrinkage, according to recent analysis
The mediterranean diet has great press over the last few years, and countries in the region generally have excellent life expectancy. But what do we mean by such a diet? Typically an abundance of vegetables, olive oil, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and moderate intake of fish, dairy and wine. Meat intake is fairly low, and generally not processed.
Studying a cohort of 401 people in their 70s and examining brain scan data, researchers discovered brain shrinkage was significantly reduced in those keeping to a 'mediterranean' style dietary pattern. Interestingly, simply reducing meat intake but eating more fish did not have the same effect.
“As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells, which can affect learning and memory. This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health. While the study points to diet having a small effect on changes in brain size, it didn’t look at the effect on risk of dementia. We would need to see follow-up studies in order to investigate any potential protective effects against problems with memory and thinking"
Of course, simply delaying shrinkage isn't good enough, but until we develop more effective cures simple dietary changes may help health outcomes.
Read more at The New Scientist