Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Your Brain on the Mediterranean Diet

2-20-20 –

A new study has revealed that consumption of the Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) promotes healthier aging by improving brain function and reducing frailty.

Aging results in inflammation and deterioration of body functions, which contribute to frailty. Researchers found that consuming the MedDiet for a year reduced frailty and improved cognitive function in 323 elderly participants (age 65-79) from the UK, France, Netherlands, Italy and Poland. The beneficial outcomes were correlated with improving the diversity in the gut microbiome ecosystem of the participants. A high adherence to the MedDiet resulted in enhanced global cognitive ability; improved immune function, blood pressure, and arterial stiffness; and reduced bone loss in individuals with osteoporosis.

The MedDiet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, olive oil and fish; some eggs and dairy; and very little red meat, sugar and saturated fats. Some of the healthiest foods include broccoli, berries, almonds, walnuts, and salmon. A large variety of fruits and vegetables is recommended. The MedDiet can also reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. For the third year in a row, the MedDiet has been ranked first in the US News and World Report’s “best diet” rankings.

Takeaway: It is never too late to adjust your diet for improved health and cognitive function.

Sources

  1. Tarini Shankar Ghosh, Simone Rampelli, Ian B Jeffery, Aurelia Santoro, Marta Neto, Miriam Capri, Enrico Giampieri, Amy Jennings, Marco Candela, Silvia Turroni, Erwin G Zoetendal, Gerben D A Hermes, Caumon Elodie, Nathalie Meunier, Corinne Malpuech Brugere, Estelle Pujos-Guillot, Agnes M Berendsen, Lisette C P G M De Groot, Edith J M Feskins, Joanna Kaluza, Barbara Pietruszka, Marta Jeruszka Bielak, Blandine Comte, Monica Maijo-Ferre, Claudio Nicoletti, Willem M De Vos, Susan Fairweather-Tait, Aedin Cassidy, Patrizia Brigidi, Claudio Franceschi, and Paul W O’Toole, Mediterranean diet intervention alters the gut microbiome in older people reducing frailty and improving health status: the NU-AGE 1-year dietary intervention across five European countries, BMJ Journal Gut, Feb 17, 2020, https://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2020/01/31/gutjnl-2019-319654.full.
  2. Sandee LaMotte, Mediterranean Diet: How to Start (and Stay on) one of the World’s Healthiest Diets, CNN, Mar. 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/03/health/mediterranean-diet-starting-tips/index.html.
  3. Sandee LaMotte, Best and Worst Diets for 2020, Ranked by Experts, with a Popular One Near Last, CNN, Jan. 2, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/02/health/best-diet-worst-diet-2020-wellness/index.html.
  4. US News & World Report, Best Diets Overallhttps://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overall.
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