Eating a Mediterranean diet may help keep you mentally fit as you age, according to findings presented yesterday at the annual Experimental Biology meeting.
In a study involving 3,790 men and women aged 65 and older, researchers found participants who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes, fish, and moderate amounts of wine scored higher on cognitive tests. WebMD reports:
The men and women answered a food-frequency questionnaire, spelling out in detail which components of the diet they ate and how often... [Researchers] then classified their adherence to the diet as low, medium, or high. Low followers scored 12 to 25, medium 26 to 29, and high 30 to 45.
The researchers administered several tests of mental function, such as short- and long-term recall, and compiled those scores as a ''global cognitive score.'' The tests were given every three years.
Those in the top group knocked two years off their test scores. For instance, if they were 65, they scored in the typical range for a 63-year-old.
These study results add to the growing body of evidence on the potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. The diet has previously been linked to cardiovascular health, lower cancer rates and prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
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