A study published in a U.S. journal has unveiled the benefit of Mediterranean diet, especially to the brain.
The study, published Wednesday in the American journal Neurology, looked into the possible link between Mediterranean diet and changes in the volume and cortical thickness of the brain, factors that related to diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
“In regression models adjusting for relevant demographic and physical health indicators, we found that lower adherence to the MeDi (Mediterranean diet) was associated with greater three-year reduction in total brain volume,” according to the study.
Scientists collected data from a group of 400 Scottish 70-year-olds, who had been followed for three years, through food frequency questionnaires and brain volume measurements via magnetic resonance imaging and other methods.
The study found strong association between the Mediterranean diet and the changes in total brain volume or total gray matter volume, as well as in cortical thickness.
More specifically, the diet can reduce brain shrinkage at about half the rate comparing with the normal food pattern, in which covariates such as age can damage brain more easily.
“Lower adherence to the MeDi in an older Scottish cohort is predictive of total brain atrophy over a three-year interval,” the study concluded.
Noting that fish and meat consumption does not drive the positive change of brain brought by Mediterranean diet, researchers suggested that more studies should be done to confirm the exact reason of the link.
The Mediterranean diet features the use of olive oil in cooking and the consumption of a high proportion of fruit and vegetables, pulses, and oily fish, with a low proportion of saturated fats.