Mediterranean Diet Improves Cognition

Grilled Fish Entree in BarcelonaDiets come and go as do recommendations for healthy living and eating. Once again the traditional Mediterranean Diet was found to be a superior way of living to a traditional low fat diet in individuals who were high risk for the development of cardiovascular disease. The study published in the May edition of the journal Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2013, May 13 is known as PREDIMED (Prevention with Diet Mediterranean) looked at 552 participants in a high risk population. These were men ( ages 55-80) and women ( ages 60-80) free of cardiovascular disease at study entry but high risk due to the presence of either type 2 diabetes or at least 3 of the following major risk factors: current smoking, high blood pressure, elevated lipids, obesity or strong family history of premature cardiovascular disease. The study was performed in Spain and used the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Clock Drawing Test (CDT) to assess cognitive function after 6.5 years of nutritional intervention. The participants were randomly divided with the researchers blinded to which group they were in. One group practiced a Mediterranean Diet with Extra Virgin Oil and mixed nuts. The other group was placed on a low fat diet generally recommended for individuals with cardiovascular disease.

At 6.5 years the practitioners of the Mediterranean diet scored significantly higher on the cognition studies. The authors concluded that an intervention with a Mediterranean dietary pattern enhanced cognition compared with a low fat diet. The authors believe that even at an advanced age and with major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a simple lifestyle modification improved brain health.

We have seen results of studies that show that a Mediterranean style diet improves your chances of avoiding heart attacks and strokes. Now we have a study which suggests that if you follow a Mediterranean type diet you will reduce your risks of developing dementia. Isn’t it time that we start educating our citizens and patients about the benefits of such a program and how to shop, prepare and live with this type of lifestyle?