Elderly people who follow a Mediterranean-style diet may benefit from better brain health and a lower risk for cognitive impairment later in life, according to a new US study.
“It suggests that a healthy dietary pattern and specific dietary components have impact on biomarkers of brain pathology,” senior researcher Rosebud Roberts of the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Rochester, Minnesota, told Reuters Health by email.
A Mediterranean-style diet includes fish, lean meat, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. The diet has been linked to better heart and bone health.
Roberts and colleagues analyzed data from 672 participants in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. At the start, none of the participants had dementia, and they weren’t in hospice or terminally ill. Residents from Olmsted County, Minnesota, entered the study in 2004, at ages 70 to 89.
Participants described their diets in a survey and underwent tests for memory, executive function, language, visual-spatial skills and cognitive impairment. Researchers also used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the cortical thickness of several regions of the brain.
Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.
Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.
Improves mood, memory, and focus.
Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.