The American Heart Association, British National Health Service, and many other health organizations recommend a simple, yet brilliantly effective diet for healthy hearts and arteries.
New research now shows that these are not the only body parts that benefit from this powerful diet.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t involve cutting out cheese, oil, or other targets of bland, restrictive Western diets. It simply changes how we approach food – and can grow our brains in the process.
Our brains naturally shrink as we age, and this death of brain cells brings about the forgetfulness, mental fog, and intellectual decline with which so many seniors struggle.
Luckily, some people’s brains shrink slower than others, and a study by Scottish scientists in the latest edition of the journal Neurology now shows some of this is under your control.
They examined the eating habits of 967 volunteers at age 70, the brain scans of 562 of them at age 73, and then further brain scans performed on 401 of them at age 76.
They were specifically interested in checking whether their dietary habits corresponded with their overall brain size, cortical thickness, and volume of grey matter.
While grey matter volume and cortical thickness declined at the same rate for all participants, overall brain size of those on a Mediterranean-style diet declined at only half the speed of the brains of those on other diets.
It was true across co-morbidities like high blood pressure and diabetes as well, showing previous studies might have errantly targeted high blood pressure or diabetes as a cause in acceleration of brain atrophy, instead of being additional health issues caused by a bigger problem.
The scientists concluded either the totality of the Mediterranean diet is responsible for benefits of lowering blood pressure and healthier minds, or that some other specific ingredient lies behind it.
The Mediterranean diet consists primarily of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Poultry, meat, and dairy are eaten in smaller amounts.
Compare this with the normal diet followed in most industrialized Western countries that contains plenty of meat, dairy, processed rather than whole grains, huge quantities of processed vegetable oils, and sugar, and only small and infrequent portions of vegetables.
Much research exists on the anti-inflammatory properties of foods in the Mediterranean diet, which is why we usually endorse it for most clients. As we’ve noted in the past, inflammation is the culprit behind most ailments.