Mediterranean Diet May Boost Brain Health
The popular Mediterranean diet may give your brain a boost in addition to trimming your waistline. According to ABC News, a diet made up of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes, whole grains and occasional red meat and wine has been shown to reduce small-vessel damage in the brain.
At least, that’s what researchers at the University of Miami and Columbia University believe.
Led by Dr. Clinton Wright of the Miller School of Medication at the University of Miami Medical Center, the team studied the benefits of the Mediterranean diet by analyzing food frequency questionnaires filled out by nearly 1,000 people. These study participants were involved with the Northern Manhattan Study—research designed to identify risk factors for stroke and heart disease.
After filling out the questionnaires, participants were sent to receive brain MRI scans in order to analyze the white matter hypertensity volume—an indicator of small vessel damage. Researchers found that people who followed a lifestyle close to the Mediterranean diet had fewer brain legions than those who ate foods higher in fat. Exercise was also positively associated with less brain damage.
According to ABC, such damage in the small vessels can cause chest pain and artery blockages, which leads to heart disease. The lesions may also lead to cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s. Women are especially at risk, researchers noted.