What we eat plays a role in our body’s health, but can diet also influence brain health?
According to experts: YES!
Generally, a diet that is good for heart health is also good for brain health. Eating well promotes blood vessel health, which in turn contributes to heart, brain, and neuron health.
Inspired by the Mediterranean diet, a brain-healthy diet includes a wide variety of fresh foods and is primarily made up of plant-based products. Foods to focus on include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, fish and seafood, and healthy sources of fat such as olive oil, canola oil, and nuts. On the other hand, red meat, sweets, sugary drinks, and other highly processed foods should be limited.
According to the World Health Organization, the Mediterranean diet may be recommended as a means of reducing the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in individuals with normal or mildly impaired cognitive function.
In fact, numerous studies indicate that this diet contributes to:
- protecting against memory loss;
- preventing the decline of cognitive function;
- reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Researchers have observed that the Mediterranean diet lowers several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and higher levels of triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol in the blood. These findings are particularly significant given that high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s good to keep in mind that there is no miracle food, and that it takes time to see the benefits of diet on brain health!
To learn more
- UHN (University Health News) Daily. “6 Major Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.” universityhealthnews.com
- HelpGuide. “The Mediterranean Diet.” www.helpguide.org