RECENT research published in the journal Neurology, found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet had a 19 percent reduced risk of mental impairment. The study, which looked at how to keep your brain sharp in old age, followed the diets of 17,478 people with an average age of 64.
The participants were given tests that measured their mental ability over an average of four years. During the course of the study, only seven percent developed memory and thinking difficulties. The essential fatty acid omega-3, found in oily fish, flax seeds and walnuts, forms the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet. The diet also features high levels of fresh fruit and vegetables and low levels of saturated fats, which are all important factors if you are wondering how to keep your brain sharp.
Lead researcher Dr Georgios Tsivgoulis, from the universities of Alabama and Athens, said: “Since there are no definitive treatments for most dementing illnesses, modifiable activities, such as diet, that may delay the onset of symptoms of dementia are very important.”
Diet is only one of several important lifestyle activities that might play a role in late-life mental functioning. If you are worried about how to keep your brain sharp as you get older, adding regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking are all important factors to consider too.
Other recent research found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet can cut heart attacks, strokes and death rates in people at high risk of heart disease by as much as one third.
Source: Georgios Tsivgoulis, M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, and University of Athens, Greece; Sam Gandy, M.D., associate director, Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, New York City; April 30, 2013, Neurology
- Neurology Journal http://www.neurology.org
- University of Alabama at Birmingham http://www.uab.edu/home/
- University of Athens, Greece http://en.uoa.gr/