The Mediterranean diet appeared to be related to strong cognitive benefit, researchers said. “This is to our knowledge the first study investigating the associations of the Mediterranean diet to brain structure in humans, focusing not only on grey matter volume but also on white matter architecture (a more novel marker of brain health)” as stated by Dr. Cecilia Samieri, from University of Bordeaux, France. “The findings give mechanistic clues on the link between the Mediterranean diet and lower cognitive aging which have been suggested in previous research,” Dr. Samieri added.
The Mediterranean diet has been preciously related to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, but the mechanisms have been unclear to the scientists.
The new findings are based on diet information of 146 healthy older adults in the Bordeaux Three-City study, that underwent brain MRI an average of 9 years later and were found free from major cerebrovascular pathology when MRI checked. Those who adhered to the Mediterranean diet, did not smoke and had lower body mass index scored better.
Higher MeDi scores appear to delay cognitive aging by up to 10 years and were associated with a “general pattern of preserved WM [white matter] microstructure in multiple bundles,” the researchers said. “Our results suggest that the Mediterranean diet helps preserve the connections between neurons, which appear to be damaged with aging, vascular brain diseases and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia,” Dr. Samieri declared for Medscape Medical News. “In addition, the regions which appeared preserved with greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet were extended and were not specific to a particular disease, suggesting that the Mediterranean diet may have the potential to prevent not only stroke (as previously demonstrated with the PREDIMED [Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea] trial), but also multiple age-related brain pathologies.”
The observational study hints that the Mediterranean diet has positive effects on the brain’s vascular system and brain’s health. Study concludes that an overall quality diet may be more helpful to preserve healthy brain structure and functions that any single food.