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Often publicized in the media, the Mediterranean diet includes an abundance of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and dairy products; a low to moderate amount of fish and poultry; a low amount of red meat; olive oil as a main source of monounsaturated fat; and red wine with dinner.
This current report reviewed prospective studies, one from the US and one from France, on the effects of a Mediterranean diet on the thinking (cognitive function) and risk for dementia in people 65 and older. The eating habits and cognitive function for the participants was assessed and the effects followed for four years. Results showed:
The authors of the report point out that the people who follow a Mediterranean diet may also engage in other healthy lifestyle behaviors such as exercise, which contribute to their lowered risk of dementia. So it still isn’t clear to what extent the beneficial effects were caused by the diet.
Dementia is a common condition, but studies like the one above suggest there are things we can do to keep our minds sharp and healthy. Here are some tips:
(Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2010;13:14–8)
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