Mediterranean-style diets linked to better brain function in older adults

July 25, 2017, American Geriatrics Society
Credit: Wikipedia.

Eating foods included in two healthy diets—the Mediterranean or the MIND diet—is linked to a lower risk for memory difficulties in older adults, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes, nuts, and fish. Processed foods, fried and fast foods, snack foods, red meat, poultry and whole-fat dairy foods are infrequently eaten on the Mediterranean diet.

The MIND diet is a version of the Mediterranean diet that includes 15 types of foods. Ten are considered "brain-healthy:" green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, seafood, poultry, olive oil, and wine. Five are considered unhealthy: , butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries, sweets and fried/fast foods.

Researchers examined information from 5,907 older adults who participated in the Health and Retirement Study. The participants filled out questionnaires about their eating habits. Researchers then measured the participants' cognitive abilities—mostly on their memory and attention skills.

The researchers compared the diets of participants to their performance on the . They found that older people who ate Mediterranean and MIND-style diets scored significantly better on the cognitive function tests than those who ate less healthy diets. In fact, older people who ate a Mediterranean-style diet had 35% lower risk of scoring poorly on cognitive tests. Even those who ate a moderate Mediterranean-style diet had 15% lower risk of doing poorly on cognitive tests. The researchers noted similar results for people who ate MIND-style diets.

This study suggests that eating Mediterranean and MIND-style diets is linked to better overall cognitive function in older adults, said the researchers. What's more, who followed these healthy diets had lower risks for having cognitive impairment in later life, noted the researchers.

Explore further: AAIC: Mediterranean diet may help preserve cognitive function

More information: Claire T. McEvoy et al, Neuroprotective Diets Are Associated with Better Cognitive Function: The Health and Retirement Study, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2017). DOI: 10.1111/jgs.14922

Related Stories

AAIC: Mediterranean diet may help preserve cognitive function

July 18, 2017
(HealthDay)—Eating right may help protect brain health in old age, a group of new studies show. The research was scheduled for presentation at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July ...

The role of diet in healthy brain ageing and dementia risk

July 17, 2017
Four studies being presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2017 are highlighting the potential benefits of certain diets and how they can support healthy brain ageing and help to reduce dementia ...

Cognitive function up with adherence to mediterranean diet

July 10, 2017
(HealthDay)—For older adults, greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and the Mediterranean-DASH diet Intervention for Neurodegeneration Delay (MIND) is associated with improved cognitive function, according ...

Get to know the mediterranean diet

April 17, 2017
(HealthDay)—The diet followed by people who live in countries around the Mediterranean Sea has been shown to be more than just delicious. The so-called Mediterranean diet can help you limit daily calories so you can lose ...

Eating away at cognitive decline: MIND diet may slow brain from aging by 7.5 years

August 4, 2015
While cognitive abilities naturally diminish as part of the normal aging process, it may be possible to take a bite out of this expected decline.

Improving diet quality over time linked with reduced risk of premature death

July 12, 2017
People who improve the quality of their diets over time, eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish and less red and processed meats and sugary beverages, may significantly reduce their risk of premature ...

Recommended for you

Phantom odors: One American in 15 smells odors that aren't there, study finds

August 16, 2018
Imagine the foul smell of an ash tray or burning hair. Now imagine if these kinds of smells were present in your life, but without a source. A new study finds that 1 in 15 Americans (or 6.5 percent) over the age of 40 experiences ...

US drug overdose deaths surge amid fentanyl scourge

August 16, 2018
US drug overdose deaths surged to nearly 72,000 last year, as addicts increasingly turn to extremely powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl as the supply of prescription painkillers has tightened.

Widespread declines in life expectancy across high income countries coincide with rising young adult, midlife mortality

August 15, 2018
The ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States is a key contributor to the most recent declines in life expectancy, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Parental life span predicts daughters living to 90 without chronic disease or disability

August 15, 2018
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that women whose mothers lived to at least age 90 were more likely to also live to 90, free of serious diseases and disabilities.

Diets high in vegetables and fish may lower risk of multiple sclerosis

August 15, 2018
People who consume a diet high in vegetables and fish may have a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis, new research led by Curtin University has found.

Can sleeping too much lead to an early death?

August 15, 2018
A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association has led to headlines that will make you rethink your Saturday morning sleep in.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.