Mediterranean Diet Preserves Memory
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham report that consuming a Mediterranean-style diet, which emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish and less saturated fats, meat and dairy foods may help preserve one’s memory and thinking abilities. However, this observation was not seen in people with diabetes. The study was recently published in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Georgios Tsivgoulis, M.D., a neurologist with UAB and the University of Athens, Greece says that since there are no known treatments for most illnesses causing dementia, people can turn to modifying their lifestyle, including their diet, to delay the onset of dementia. Researchers used data from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, which was based at UAB. The study involved more than 17,000 adults with an average age of 64, who underwent tests that evaluated their memory and mental capacities.
The investigators found that healthy people who followed the Mediterranean diet more closely were 19% less likely to develop memory problems. However, the same association was not found in the 17% of participants who had diabetes.
Tsivgoulis believes that diet is an important modifiable factor that could help preserve the cognitive function in late life. He adds, however, that it is only one of several important lifestyle factors that may play a role in mental function during old age. Other important factors include exercise, not smoking cigarettes, avoiding obesity, and controlling diabetes and hypertension with medications.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. Mediterranean diet linked to preserving memory. ScienceDaily.