Mediterranean Diet May Improve Brain Fitness

Looking for some good brain food? Then head towards the Mediterranean. New research shows that people who eat a Mediterranean diet are less likely to have brain infarcts, small areas of dead tissue linked to thinking problems.

Researchers assessed the diets of 712 people in New York and divided them into three groups based on how closely they were following the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil, and is low in saturated fat, dairy products, meat and poultry and moderate amounts of alcohol.

Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas, the study author from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, and colleagues conducted magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of the people an average of six years later. A total of 238 people had at least one area of brain damage.

Those who were most closely following a Mediterranean-like diet were 36 percent less likely to have areas of brain damage than those who were least following the diet. Those moderately following the diet were 21 percent less likely to have brain damage than the lowest group.

The findings are to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10-17.

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