A Mediterranean-style diet may be beneficial in helping to reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, according to a research recently published in the medical journal BMC Medicine.
The study examined the effect of a traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern on cognitive decline, suggesting that consumption of a Mediterranean diet appears to be associated with lower rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the study, those who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely had a 23% lower chance of developing dementia over the course of the study.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a plant-focused dietary pattern that is high in fruits, vegetables, beans and grains; moderate in dairy products (cheese, yogurt and milk); lower in fish, poultry and eggs.
It’s also low in red meats and rich in fatty fish like salmon. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat because of its health benefits. In addition to foods, drinking lots of water can be beneficial for health.
What Foods Make Up the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is made up of a variety of different foods, including fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk should be included in moderation. Fish such as tuna and salmon are also important sources of protein in this diet.
Olives and olive oil provide healthy fats. And finally, red wine can be consumed in moderation as it has been linked to some benefits for heart health.
What are the Benefits of Following a Mediterranean Diet?
A Mediterranean diet has many benefits, as it is mostly composed of fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods.
Studies have indicated that following this type of eating plan may help reduce the risks of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. It can also promote weight loss and lead to increased energy levels and a more balanced mood.
How Can I Get Started on a Mediterranean Diet?
If you’re interested in trying a Mediterranean diet, the key components are to emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts; replace butter with healthy fats like olive oil; eat fish and poultry at least twice a week; and limit red meat to a few times a month.
You also shouldn’t forget about moderation or leave out important food groups – like dairy products. Making small dietary changes is the best way to slowly transition into this new way of eating.
Weekly Mediterranean Diet Consumption
To achieve the perfect Mediterranean Diet score, individuals should include:
- Olive oil as their primary fat source.
- 2 or more vegetables per day.
- 3 or more fruits per day.
- No more than 1 serving of red/processed meat per day.
- No more than 1 serving of butter/margarine/cream per day.
- Less than 1 sugar-sweetened drink a day.
- 3 or more servings of legumes such as beans, lentils and peanuts each week.
- Limit sweets and pastries to less than 2 servings per week.
- 3 or more servings of fish and nuts weekly.
- More white meat in the diet than red meat.
- 2 or more servings of tomato-based sauce each week.
Are There Any Risks or Side Effects to Consider When Following a Mediterranean Diet?
Though there are no known risks or side effects to consider when following a Mediterranean diet, it’s important to remember that everyone is unique.
If you’re noticing any adverse effects after adopting the Mediterranean diet, make sure to consult your doctor or a nutritionist to address any issues.
Additionally, people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes should talk with their healthcare provider before making major dietary changes.
Reducing the Risk of Dementia
While there is no cure for dementia, a growing body of research indicates that there are lifestyle strategies one can take to reduce the risk.
Dr Emily Rogalski, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has identified several lifestyle factors which may have an influence on the risk of developing this condition.
Keeping your brain healthy is an important part of reducing the risk of dementia.Dr Emily Rogalski
Strategies such as following a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, and staying physically and mentally active can all play a role in decreasing the chances of developing dementia.
Furthermore, keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, as well as maintaining healthy blood glucose levels may also reduce the risk.
Is a Mediterranean diet the healthiest?
According to US News & World Report, it appears so. The popular magazine ranked the Mediterranean diet as the top overall eating plan for 2023, making it their number one choice for six straight years.
What is the world’s healthiest diet?
The Mediterranean Diet, which is based on the traditional foods eaten in Greece and Southern Italy, has been identified as one of the best diets for overall health. Studies have shown that following a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce your risk of heart disease and early death as well as promote good general health.
What is the #1 easiest diet to follow?
The Mediterranean Diet, which focuses on eating primarily fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and healthy fats like olive oil and fish, has been praised for its heart-healthy benefits. It also ties with the Ornish Diet as the Best Heart-Healthy diet and is regarded as one of the best plant-based diets and diabetics diets around.
What is not allowed on the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet places an emphasis on plant-based, unprocessed food. Therefore, it is important to avoid processed red meats, heavily processed or refined foods, grains that have been white flour milled and bleached, butter, and hydrogenated or processing oils. Additionally, drinking alcohol should be kept in moderation.