In a new study from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, researchers found that a regular Mediterranean diet may protect against memory loss and dementia.
The diet has relatively more intake of vegetables, legumes, fruit, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as olive oil. It has a low intake of dairy products, red meat and saturated fatty acids.
In the study, the team tested a total of 512 people with an average age of around seventy years.
169 of them were cognitively healthy, while 343 were identified as having a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease — due to subjective memory impairment, a mild cognitive impairment that is the precursor to dementia, or first-degree relationship with patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers found that those who ate an unhealthy diet had more pathological levels of dementia biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid than those who regularly ate a Mediterranean-like diet.
In the memory tests, the participants who did not adhere to the Mediterranean diet also performed worse than those who regularly ate fish and vegetables.
There was also a strong positive correlation between a closer adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet and a higher volume of the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is an area of the brain that is considered the control center of memory. It shrinks early and severely in Alzheimer’s disease.
The team says it is possible that the Mediterranean diet protects the brain from protein deposits and brain atrophy that can cause memory loss and dementia.
If you care about dementia, please read studies about subconscious changes in movement may predict Alzheimer’s disease and findings of a noninvasive treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
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The study is published in Neurology. One author of the study is Prof. Michael Wagner.
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