We’ve all heard that a diet of made up mostly of fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, whole grains and fish — the Mediterranean diet – is good for the heart.. But a Mediterranean diet may also be good for your brain! Studies show that people who closely follow a Mediterranean diet may be less likely to develop cognitive decline when compared with people who don’t follow the diet. Research shows that a Mediterranean diet may:
1. Slow cognitive decline in older adults
2. Lessen the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a transitional period between the mental decline of normal aging and the more-serious memory problems caused by Alzheimer’s
3. Lessen the risk of MCI progressing into Alzheimer’s disease
Researchers are not sure why following a Mediterranean diet helps with brain health. It may be that making healthy food choices improves cholesterol, blood sugar levels and general blood vessel health — all of which may decrease the risk of MCI or Alzheimer’s disease.
The largest study to date finds that eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, chicken and salad dressing, and avoiding saturated fats, meats and dairy foods may be connected to preserving memory and thinking abilities. More research is needed to know to what degree a Mediterranean diet prevents Alzheimer’s or at least slows the progression of cognitive decline. But regardless, eating a healthy diet is important to stay physically and mentally fit.