Mediterranean Diet May Save Brainpower
Study Shows a Benefit of Mediterranean Diet May Be Slower Mental Decline as People Age
WebMD News Archive
Following the Mediterranean Diet continued...
There was some effect in the medium group, Tangney says, but no effect in
the group that adhered the least.
The beauty of the finding, Tangney tells WebMD, is that following the diet
perfectly isn't necessary to get a brain-protective effect. "When someone
incorporates a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and non-refined grains such
as cereals and breads and breaks it up with a little wine, there appears to be
at least some protection against cognitive aging," she says.
While Tangney's team didn’t inquire about exercise habits, she says physical
activity would be ideal to add to the Greek-like diet. "The true Mediterranean
diet advocates lots of physical activity," she says.
The study results ''are significant in that it tells us something may be
going on'' with the Greek-like diet and mental skills, says Bruce Semon, MD,
PhD, a Milwaukee doctor who reviewed the study findings for WebMD.
''It's a moderate effect," he says of the two-year improvement found in the
Because the researchers looked at the diet as a whole, he says, it's
difficult to separate out which food or foods deserve credit for preserving
Tangney says that's a plus of the study. Many studies have focused on
individual nutrients and their effect on health.
But her research looks at the ''big picture" of the Mediterranean diet and
finds benefits for those who follow it closely, but not perfectly.
Her advice? ''Eat lots of whole grains, legumes, and beans. Have an
occasional glass of wine."