New research suggests that people who maintain a Mediterranean diet are less likely to suffer from neurodegenerative diseases. However, according to scientists, this outcome is not related to the consumption of fish, as it was once believed.
Furthermore, according to U.S News and World Report annual diet rankings, the classic Mediterranean diet ranks 2, followed by the new MIND diet in the third position. Both diets include leafy greens, legumes, nuts, red wine, and olive oil. They are believed to be good to prevent the natural brain shrinkage that comes along with aging.
The MIND diet
As we grow old, our brain shrinks, and its performance worsens. This is a harsh reality, but scientists say that we can slow down the shrinking process with our diet. They recommend people to have a diet similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet. However, there is a new version that is designed by scientists to gain more benefits to the brain.
This new diet is the MIND diet. It was made at a Russian University. MIND stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.” It is quite similar to the Mediterranean diet since it is a combination of the latter and the DASH Diet. The DASH diet was made as a blood pressure-reducing diet developed by the NIH. Both diets are claimed for its benefits reducing brain shrinking and deterioration, and even to reduce the chances of having dementia.
As it was explained, the MIND diet is practically the Mediterranean diet with some modifications. The difference between them is that scientists designed the MIND diet and it focused on the elements of the Mediterranean diet that show benefits to the brain over time. It comprises ten food groups that people should regularly consume to avoid the reduction of the brain: leafy greens, other vegetables, whole grains, nuts, berries, beans, poultry, olive oil, fish, and red wine. It recommends leaving out of our diet foods such as red meat, butter, cheese, fast food, fried food, and sweets.
Therefore, the MIND diet sounds a lot like the Mediterranean diet, but another difference between them is that unlike the Mediterranean diet, the MIND diet recommends eating fish only once a week.
Is fish good for the brain?
Scientists believe that fish, even though it is full of omega-3 fatty acids, is not that linked to better brain health. As well, this new diet suggests only the consumption of berries, leaving out other fruits, since research hasn’t shown that fruits are actually good for the brain.
Tough these results are reliable, scientists say, it is still an ongoing research. Therefore, this brain diet would probably suffer some modifications over time as we learn more what is good for the health of our precious organ.
This diet is linked to the Brain Volume
A recent study published in the journal Neurology shows that people who stick closer to the Mediterranean diet are less likely to suffer from brain-related diseases, improving the health of this organ.
To get to this results, they scanned the brains of 401 people in their 70’s. They look at the brain at the beginning and the end of a three-year period. The ones who had a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet showed less brain shrinkage during the time of the study than those who didn’t stick close to the Mediterranean diet. The size of the effect of eating the Mediterranean diet, according to the scientists, is of about half the effect of aging, which is significant progress.
A few years ago, the NYU studied the correlation between diet and the cortical volume of brain in healthy participants. They divided the participants into high and low adherence to the Mediterranean diet. When they scanned the brain, they found that those who didn’t have a Mediterranean diet had more thinning of the cortex in several regions and that the ones who kept the diet had less brain shrinkage.
What causes the effect?
The scientists say that neither meat nor fish is linked to the effect. Experts say it doesn’t have to do with fruits either. They say it is probably a combination of all the components of the diet. But they haven’t determined that yet. Experts from Athens believe it has to do with the vegetables since the antioxidants present in vegetables help repair the damage to brain cells.
As well, studies show that eating a Mediterranean-like diet can reduce the development of Alzheimer’s disease. A study shows that those who ate the MIND Diet had a 53 percent reduction in the risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Those who maintain moderately the diet had a 35 percent reduction.
“This suggests that the MIND diet is not specific to the underlying pathology of [Alzheimer’s disease] but perhaps better overall functioning and protection of the brain,” said Michelle Luciano, the study author.
Source: Los Angeles Times