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Can a Mediterranean diet protect my brain as I age?

The Mediterranean diet may help protect your brain as you age. The typical Mediterranean diet cuts out the excess red meats and junk foods often found in the typical American diet. Studies have shown that there may be decreased small vessel disease in people who follow the Mediterranean diet. This may be secondary to a lowering of cholesterol, a lower blood pressure and lower incidences of diabetes. All three of these factors can independently lead to atherosclerosis in the small vessels of the brain, leading to decreased cognitive function.
Anthony Cirillo
Geriatric Medicine
A study shows that eating a Mediterranean-style diet -- one rich in olive oil, whole grains, fish, and fruit -- may protect aging brains from damage linked to cognitive problems.

Researchers looked at how well the participants followed a Mediterranean-style diet for six years. Upon MRI, those who strictly followed the diet had fewer brain infarcts and strokes, and their risk for having such damage was lowered by up to 36%.

According to other studies, eating a Mediterranean diet could help lower the risk for Alzheimer's disease and might lengthen the life of those who have the disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.