Mediterranean-Style Diets and Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Researchers consider the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet (Mediterranean‐DASH diet Intervention for Neurodegeneration Delay), two of the healthiest choices for older adults due to their connection with enhanced cognitive function. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society compared the cognitive performance of those who ate the Mediterranean and MIND diets to those who did not. The study results show that older adults 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 had MIND-style diets. They also reported that older adults who followed these healthy diets had lower risk of cognitive impairment in later life.

The Mediterranean diet consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes, nuts, olive oil and fish. Processed foods, fried and fast foods, snack foods, red meat, poultry and whole-fat dairy foods are not often eaten on the Mediterranean diet. The MIND diet is a modified form of the Mediterranean diet focused on 10 types of foods that  are considered brain foods: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, seafood, poultry, olive oil, and wine. On this diet, five types of foods are considered unhealthy: red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries, sweets and fried/fast foods.