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A Mediterranean diet may support brain functions

September 16, 2013

A new review from the UK confirms a positive impact of a micronutrient-rich diet on cognitive function, and an inconsistent effect on mild cognitive impairment.

In the systematic review, the results of 11 observational studies and one randomized controlled trial, investigating the potential relationship between Mediterranean diet and cognitive functions, were analyzed (1). The study results showed that a greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Results for mild cognitive impairment were inconsistent.

The researchers commented that Mediterranean food, which typically consists of higher levels of olive oil, vegetables, fruit and fish, may help to protect the aging brain by reducing the risk of dementia – a link that is not new. Further research is needed to clarify a potential association with mild cognitive impairment. While observational studies provide suggestive evidence, randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm whether or not adherence to a Mediterranean diet protects against dementia, the scientists said.

References

  1. Lourida I. et al. Mediterranean Diet, Cognitive Function, and Dementia. Epidemiology. 2013; 24(4):479.