The eating habits of people who live around the Mediterranean have been studied before. You can get old, and that is the overall impression. Scholars from The University of Edinburgh (Scotland) Now proven that the Mediterranean diet keeps your brain sharper later in life.
Scientists put people who were running towards the end of their 70s on a series of memory and thinking tests. Participants who ate more vegetables and less meat seemed to have better results mentally. However, the study found no link between the Mediterranean diet and improved brain health.
Signs of healthy brain aging – such as increased gray or white matter volume, or fewer white matter lesions – did not differ between those who regularly followed a Mediterranean diet and those who did not.
An aging brain
“This indicates that a predominantly plant-based diet may have benefits in cognitive performance as we age,” the researchers said in a university press release.
Scientists examined the thinking skills of more than 500 79-year-olds without dementia. They had to solve various problems. Memory, thinking speed and word knowledge were also tested. Moreover, the tested subjects had to answer questions about their eating habits in the past year. More than 350 people also underwent a brain scan to gain insight into the structure of their brains.
The team used statistical models to look for links between a person’s diet, their ability to think, and brain health in later life.
The study showed that people who followed the Mediterranean diet the most had the highest scores on cognitive function. Even when taking youth IQ, smoking, physical activity, and health factors into account. The differences were small but statistically significant.
“The positive relationship between the Mediterranean diet and the ability to think cannot be explained by a healthier brain structure, as one might expect,” the researchers said. “However, it is possible that there could be other structural or functional brain associations with this diet, or connections in specific areas of the brain, rather than the entire brain, as measured here.”
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