Want To Try A New Diet? Eat Like A Mediterranean For Brain Health Benefits, New Study Reveals

There are thousands of diets to choose from but eating like a Mediterranean was found to boost brain health, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fish, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil can help delay age-related cognitive decline.

"It's never too late to change your dietary patterns to improve your health," explained Dr. Emilio Ros, who led the study at the Hospital Clinic at the University of Barcelona in Spain.

NPR reports that the study compared the brain health of groups of people in their 60s and 70s in Spain who were enrolled in a randomized clinical trial.

One group ate a Mediterranean diet, as well as either extra daily servings of extra-virgin olive oil (about four tablespoons) or daily servings of nuts. Another group was assigned to eat a lower-fat diet.

During the study, researchers gave the men and women cognitive tests to gauge their brain health. After about four years, the tests were repeated a second time.

"What we see here is that the control diet group [the people eating the lower-fat diet] worsened on their cognitive tests," Ros said.

On the other hand, the people following the nut-and-oil-rich Mediterranean diet scored relatively the same on their cognitive test scores. So while those on the Mediterranean diet did not get significantly better with their memories, there was also no notable age-related decline in their memory.

"The key finding here is that this [Mediterranean] diet is preventing decline," said Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

While there's no guarantee, it certainly won't hurt to regularly eat fish, legumes, whole grains, fruit and vegetables like those in the Mediterranean do. Don't forget about olive oil, which is the primary source of fat in the region, as well as keeping away from too much red meat and full-fat dairy products. The best part? Red wine is allowed (but in moderation).

According to Yahoo! News, the diet was even part of the world's Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2010. 

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