The list of benefits to olive oil and fish doesn’t seem to have an end. The Mediterranean diet has been associated with a plethora of health benefits since research on its effects on the body began. Some of these discovered benefits include a decreased risk of heart attack, increased longevity, and a lower risk for diabetes.
Now, a new set of findings is set to be presented July 16 through 19 in London, at the Alzheimer's Association International conference. The findings assert the Mediterranean diet lowers risk of dementia by over thirty percent.
As lead author of the study, Claire McEvoy of the University of California San Francisco's School of Medicine, explained to CNN, “Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around thirty to thirty-five percent lower risk of cognitive impairment during aging.”
The study was conducted on a group of participants with an average age of 68. One group religiously followed the Mediterranean diet, one group stuck to its guidelines loosely, and another did not follow it at all. The group that followed it most closely exhibited a thirty to thirty-five percent advantage. The group that loosely followed the principles of the diet was eighteen percent less likely to become cognitively impaired.
At this point, we’ve all heard of the Mediterranean diet — but many of us aren’t really sure what the diet suggests we eat.
The Mediterranean diet, also known as the MIND diet for its brain-boosting power — and based on an complex acronym that stands for Mediterannean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay — isn’t just a guideline to eat all Mediterranean food. In fact, falafel would never make the list of recommended foods for a MIND diet dinner.
Instead, the diet proposes eating copious amounts of plants, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts. Followers of the diet also pour olive oil on their meals and their pans while cooking. They know that fats are not the enemy, and that fats from olive oil, nuts, and seeds, carry intense brain-boosting potential.
So the link to a decreased dementia risk makes sense. In fact, a separate study released on June 21 revealed that olive oil had the potential to significantly decrease the risk of brain-degenerative diseases — including dementia.
Martha Claire Morris, the inventor of the MIND diet, found similar evidence while studying her regimen in 2015. In her study, followers of the MIND diet had lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s and brain degeneration by 53 percent.
The evidence is piling up quickly: Could fish, plants, and olive oil really be the solution we’ve been looking for in preventing Alzheimer’s? We aren’t sure, but we do know that with corroboration rapidly mounting from all of these studies, adding some salmon and spinach to your week couldn’t hurt.