Although the benefits of a particular form of diet often play out as hype, ongoing studies of the Mediterranean diet appear to show results that are the real deal.
A current study of older adults called the Chicago Health and Aging Project suggest that adherence to the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of cognitive decline with older age.
“This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, lower meat consumption, and moderate wine and non-refined grain intake,” said lead author Dr. Christy Tangney of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
“Instead of espousing avoidance of foods, the data support that adults over age 65 should look to include more olive oil, legumes, nuts, and seeds in their diet in order to improve their recall times and other cognitive skills, such as identifying symbols and numbers.”
The nearly 4,000 participants in this study included black and white adults aged 65 and older. They were given a battery of cognitive tests which were assigned scores and then a clinical interview.
Those who ranked in the highest in terms of following such a Mediterranean-type diet were more protected from cognitive decline. The adults were given these cognitive tests every 3 years for 15 years.
“Finally, we want older adults to remember that physical activity is an important part of maintaining cognitive skills,” added Tangney.