In a new study, researchers found adherence to a Mediterranean diet is linked to less cognitive decline over five years in older adults in the United States
The research was led by the University of Maine and the University of South Australia researchers.
The team examined the relationship between Mediterranean diet adherence and cognitive function in a sample of older adults in the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS).
MSLS, a study of aging, hypertension, heart disease and cognitive function, was launched in 1974 by Elias.
It has obtained longitudinal data from young adulthood to the elder years for 1,000 individuals, and cross-sectional data for more than 2,400 individuals initially recruited from central New York and followed throughout the U.S.
The Mediterranean diet has been linked to a range of health benefits.
However, the majority of Mediterranean diet studies have been conducted in Mediterranean populations, and findings from non-Mediterranean populations are mixed.
In the new study, the team found that people who reported eating a higher intake of foods in a Mediterranean diet, including olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, whole grains and red wine, had lower rates of cognitive decline in visual-spatial organization and memory, attention and global cognitive function over a five-year period.
The findings indicate that adherence to a Mediterranean diet may be capable of delaying age and disease-related cognitive decline, one of the leading risk factors of dementia.
Future studies need to examine possible associations between the Mediterranean diet, such as biological factors or general good health as a positive influence on cognitive function.
The study is published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.
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