If you want to be the best version of yourself in 2022, there are some things you could do to help your brain function better. While some habits, like over-caffeinating or excessive drinking, could be taking a toll on your brain, others, such as getting sufficient exercise and staying on a healthy sleep schedule, could help keep your brain sharp. The foods you eat could also make a big difference. Now, new research indicates that sticking to the Mediterranean diet could help protect you against cognitive decline.
In the study, released in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers observed a group of over 900 adults facing cognitive decline for about three years. They gave the diet of each person a score that was based on how closely their diet adhered to the principles of the Mediterranean diet. They Compared this data to measures of brain health—specifically of visual perception, language, memory, and executive functioning—researchers discovered that adherence to this diet was connected to significantly slower cognitive decline.
In fact, those who had a Mediterranean Diet Score that was 10 points higher (on a scale of 0 to 55) saw a 7% slower cognitive decline in a years time. Moreover, each additional serving of veggies, researchers found, slowed their progression of cognitive decline by 2% or more.
The study adds to a growing body of evidence indicating this diet’s powerful benefits for cognitive health. A study of over 500 older adults released in early 2021 discovered that the Mediterranean diet is linked with better thinking skills later on in life.
Another early 2021 study released in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, which followed over 5,000 participants for twenty years, found that following a stricter Mediterranean diet could keep the brain around six years younger. There’s a long list of research that has come to the same conclusion. Far from the one-time effect that’s observed in a single study, the benefits you get from the Mediterranean diet on your brain seems to be a consistent finding across many different groups of people.
The pillars of the Mediterranean diet are eating monounsaturated fats like olive oil or nuts; getting plenty of minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals (beneficial compounds that are found in plants); and eating only moderate amounts of salt. Other benefits of the diet include lengthening your life, decreasing your risk of heart disease, and helping you with fertility, just to name just a few.
Author: Steven Sinclaire