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April 28, 2010

Eating like the Greeks - boosts brainpower

An ongoing prospective study says that people who eat a classic Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fruits, olive oil, cereals & fish improve their brainpower.
Greek foodThe study has shown that adherence to the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of cognitive decline with older age.
“This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, lower meat consumption, and moderate wine & non-refined grain intake,” said lead author Dr. Christy Tangney of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Instead of espousing avoidance of foods, the data support that adults over age 65 should look to include more olive oil, legumes, nuts, & seeds in their diet in order to improve their recall times & other cognitive skills, such as identifying symbols & numbers.”

The nearly 4,000 participants in this study included black & white adults aged 65 & older. They were given a battery of cognitive tests which were assigned scores & then a clinical interview. Those who ranked in the highest in terms of following such a Mediterranean-type diet were more protected from cognitive decline. The adults were given these cognitive tests every 3 years for 15 years. “Finally, we want older adults to remember that physical activity is an important part of maintaining cognitive skills,” added Tangney.
The finding has been presented at the Experimental Biology 2010 Meeting in Anaheim as part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition.

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