Mediterranean Food has long been praised for its high nutritional content and beneficial effects. It is also extremely healthy, and research is now proving that the Mediterranean Diet has numerous health benefits. To many who know what some of the foods included in the Mediterranean Diet are, it’s no surprise that ingredients like olive oil, a diet rich in fish, and inclusive of a glass of red wine is heart healthy. In fact, scientists have proven that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease, but it also reduces the risk of cancer and Parkinson’s as well as Alzheimer’s disease. Eating a more Mediterranean diet has been shown to prevent memory impairment and increase functioning of the brain in realistic, proven results.
The Mediterranean Diet
What is the Mediterranean Diet? It is a diet that emphasizes plant-based foods and also vegetables and fruits. Foods eaten in the Mediterranean Diet include olive oil, fish, herbs, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and a lesser focus on red meat, dairy, meat, and poultry with moderate amounts of alcohol. Bread is eaten but dipped in olive oil or on its own. Herbs and spices are used to accent dishes rather than salt or pepper. Exercising, enjoying life, and sharing meals with friends and family are all part of the spirit of healthy eating and spirit of well-being. The diet is not only healthy for the heart, but it aids the brain in all sorts of unique and beneficial ways to improve the brain’s function overall.
The Mediterranean Diet and Brain Health
Eating a Mediterranean style diet may help your brain health in drastically positive ways. Studies have shown that following this diet can actually help prevent small areas in the brain from developing damage that would otherwise impair the qualities of function for memory and thinking. A study done in New York where participants went on the diet the most faithfully and then took brain MRIs were less likely to have memory impairment by 36%, a whole third more than a typical Western omnivorous diet. Those who followed the diet somewhat closely but not as faithfully were 24% less likely to have memory impairment.
How to Integrate a Mediterranean Diet
An emphasis on healthy, high calorie fats, such as those found in olive oil or some healthy nuts, is actually better for your brain’s power than eating a diet filled with lower fat foods. Scale back meat and dairy intake, and reduce your intake of processed foods. Focusing on whole foods and healthy fats will fight inflammation and memory impairment.
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