Oct 24, 2018 | Updated: 04:34 PM EDT

Mediterranean Diet's Effects on Brain Health

Oct 22, 2015 07:30 PM EDT

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Alzheimer's and other degenerative brain disorders are shown to be preventable through Mediterranean diet. The diet that has been well known for thousands of years has become recently popular because of its health benefits. The Mediterranean diet usually consists of olive oil, a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs, and fish, and for its obvious health advantages, this can also slow the effects of ageing.

A U.S. study led by Columbia University's Yian Gu connected the diet with the reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. It focused on the observation of older people with normal cognitive function in regard to ageing and the loss of brain cells because of that.

Around 674 healthy people over 80 years old were tested by MRI after completing their eating habits; according to the results, those who followed the said diet had more grey and white matter, and a larger brain volume, with the numbers showing that the brain volume of those who followed the diet is 13.11 millilitres larger than those who didn't. The grey volume goes up to 5 millilitres larger and white matter up to 6.41 millilitres.

The higher fish intake compared with the consumption of meat was the concluded reason for this, although Dr. Victor Henderson of Stanford University noted that it is hard to separate the effects of consuming less meat and the consumption of more fish. That is one weakness of the study as the authors have acknowledged the inadequacy of the available data that would support the theory that it can actually lessen the risk of brain atrophy.

One established key point by previous studies published earlier this year is that the extra virgin olive oil can improve memory in adults. Previous research also noted that the Mediterranean diet, aside from getting lesser risk for brain disorders, it can also reduce risk for cancer and heart diseases.

"It is safe to say that a well-balanced diet such as the Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet, and this research provides exciting new support for this common-sense perspective, still, from my perspective, more clinical trial results are needed for a more specific take-home message." Henderson said.

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