home
RSS
Mediterranean diet is brain food
May 21st, 2013
10:47 AM ET

Mediterranean diet is brain food

Sticking to a Mediterranean diet may not just be good for your heart, it may be good for your brain as well, according to a new study.

Researchers in Spain followed more than 1,000 people for six and a half years, and found that participants who were on a Mediterranean diet and supplemented that diet with extra nuts or olive oil performed better on cognitive tests at the end of the study period than the control group, which followed a lower-fat diet. The study was published Monday in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

"We found that a Mediterranean diet with olive oil was able to reduce low-grade inflammation associated with a high risk of vascular disease and cognitive impairments," said Dr. Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, the chairman of preventive medicine at the University of Navarra in Spain and a study author.

The Mediterranean diet is devoid of processed foods and bad fats, and high in whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish and even red wine - all things that are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. These types of foods are known to help reduce vascular (circulatory) damage, inflammation and oxidative (free radical) damage in the brain.

But there are limitations to the study.

Dr. Dean Ornish, a well-known proponent of a very low-fat, largely plant-based diet says while the Mediterranean diet is good, it's unfair to compare it to a "low fat diet" in this particular study.

"It's erroneous to say (the Mediterranean diet in this study is) better than a low fat diet, when in fact they weren't following a low-fat diet," said Ornish. "If they said the Mediterranean diet improves cognition compared to standard American diet or standard Spanish diet, I would agree, but clearly, a 37% fat diet is not a low-fat diet."

Ornish, who recommends a diet that includes only 10% fat says in his studies, says he has seen similar effects - improved cognition, improved heart health and reduced depression.

"Good shouldn't be confused with optimal," when referring to the Mediterranean diet, he says.

Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician-nutrition specialist, says the study findings are encouraging.

"The Mediterranean diet is high in antioxidants, it's anti-inflammatory, and it has a lot of vascular protective elements, so I don't think this is a stretch," said Jampolis. "In a high-risk vascular population, this could be beneficial, and it's worth evaluating further."

But she cautions that the Mediterranean diet should be stacked up against the typical American diet to get a true picture of how much it helps cognition.

While Dr. Martinez-Gonzalez agrees that the study isn't perfect, he says there is clear evidence that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial.

"The quantity of the difference between the groups was small from a clinical point of view, but it was statistically significant," he said. "The harmony, the combination of all of the micronutrients, when they are combined in traditional Mediterranean cuisine, is very important for the functioning of the central nervous system."

And he added that this is not only a healthy diet, it's a sustainable diet.

"The Mediterranean people enjoy this kind of diet every day," he said. "It is pleasant, it is healthy, it is sustainable, and it is not very expensive."


soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. bremelanotide vs alprostadil

    injectable erectile dysfunction medicine https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil ingredients 745-65-3

    April 18, 2021 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. what is the brand name for the generic drug for viagra in canada

    viagra canada purchase https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra without a doctor prescription canada

    April 20, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. generic tadalafil

    tadalafil gel https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil 30 mg

    April 21, 2021 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. sildenafil price australia

    sildenafil nz https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ price of sildenafil 50mg

    April 26, 2021 at 01:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. dapoxetine

    priligy uk buy avanafil usa

    April 28, 2021 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. canadian diet pills

    canadian diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pharmacies ed pills

    April 28, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. cialis canadian pharmacy

    canadian pharmacy 5 mg daily cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis canadian

    April 29, 2021 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. what is the brand name for the generic drug for viagra in canada

    ordering viagra from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ what is the brand name for the generic drug for viagra in canada

    May 1, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. clonidine

    clorquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ choroquine

    May 4, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jeffry Minozzi

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2014/09/latest-book-in-our-series-learning.html?showComment=1441708995233

    May 11, 2021 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Lacy Tangren

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusuf-hanafy-82493b183

    May 12, 2021 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. storno brzinol

    I really wanted to compose a simple word to be able to appreciate you for the marvelous hints you are sharing on this website. My incredibly long internet lookup has now been compensated with high-quality details to write about with my companions. I 'd suppose that many of us visitors actually are very much fortunate to live in a really good website with very many awesome individuals with interesting tactics. I feel pretty lucky to have come across your webpage and look forward to really more pleasurable times reading here. Thanks again for a lot of things.

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 13, 2021 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. avana

    buy avanafil uk avana 100 mg

    May 15, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. storno brzinol

    Yeah bookmaking this wasn't a high risk decision great post! .

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 16, 2021 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Freda Sidelinger

    I don't know about you all but I love airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/06/video-of-the-day-rapping-about-southwest-airlines/

    http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163870

    May 16, 2021 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Huey Durfey

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2011/12/meeting-in-comillas-we-have-arrived-in.html?showComment=1343480616819

    May 17, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Melda Mompoint

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It's always exciting to read content from other authors and practice something from their sites.

    https://extraproxies.com/spring-hibernate-jsp/

    May 17, 2021 at 22:58 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to Remona Vigor


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.