Everyone's concern seems to be about diets that help you lose weight, hence the eating clean, low-carb or gluten-free type ones that are popping up everywhere. But have you ever thought to consider a diet that is good for you and your brain? The latest findings from the JAMA Internal Medicine journal say that a Mediterranean diet, supplemented with a handful of nuts or a few tablespoons of olive oil a day, can counteract the effects of brain aging.
The study involved 447 participants who were considered cognitively healthy, of 55 to 80 years of age. They were divided into three groups, where two followed the Mediterranean diet and added either 30 grams of mixed nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds) a day, or five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day and one group, acting as a control, was advised to follow a low-fat diet. After just over four years, they were tested on things like memory, attention span and executive function. What researchers found was an overall decrease in the measured areas of mental function for the control group who followed a low-fat diet, while both groups on the Mediterranean diet showed overall improvements in cognition. The group that consumed nuts showed significant improvement in their memory.
The Mediterranean diet, which has also shown to improve heart health, focuses on the consumption of plenty of vegetables and fruits, fish, unrefined grains and beans. If we will be getting cardiovascular benefits as well as an increase in mental function in the long run, there's no reason not to start now.