Whether you love them or loathe them, foods such as olives, oily fish, fruits and vegetables, wholegrains such as whole-wheat bread, buckwheat and brown rice, and of course a little bit of good ol’ red wine, are all considered pretty good for your health (although the wine not so much these days).
You may have noticed that the abovementioned foods actually form part of what’s known as the Mediterranean diet, a diet that is traditionally eaten in, you guessed it… countries that border the Mediterranean, such as Italy, France and Spain.
The positive benefit of the Mediterranean diet and health is well documented, particularly for its apparent part in reducing the onset of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and overall shorter life expectancy.
A recent study from the journal Neurology has found a strong connection between the Mediterranean diet and brain volume i.e. the size of your brain! The study tested multi-ethnic individuals in order to keep it representative of the general population and monitored the differences in brain volume between those that adhered to a Mediterranean diet, and those that didn’t.
Dr Gu discusses the findings:
"These results are exciting, as they raise the possibility that people may potentially prevent brain shrinking and the effects of aging on the brain simply by following a healthy diet,".
A ‘healthy diet’ bringing about overall good health is nothing new, we know this to be the case. But the potential to reduce general brain shrinkage by following a healthy, balanced diet that consistently delivers essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and the usual lean sources of protein and starchy carbohydrates is something we should not overlook!
It is thought that the consistent consumption of a Mediterranean styled diet seems to protect against brain wastage/shrinkage that is the equivalent to about 3-4 years of aging. The researchers believe that the benefit comes from the anti-inflammatory properties of the omega-3 oils in the diet, and the antioxidant and vitamin and mineral benefit of the fruit and vegetables.
Medscape, (2015). Mediterranean Diet Linked to Larger Brain Volume. Retrieved 23rd October, 2015, from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/853114?nlid=89449_3681&src=wnl_edit_dail&uac=208518SR&impID=865708&faf=1