Adhering to a Mediterranean-style eating pattern may protect the aging brain from Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research published in the journal Neurology. The three-year brain imaging study looked for Alzheimer’s disease-associated brain changes in 70 cognitively normal adults ages 30 to 60 years. Participants whose diets were closer to a Mediterranean style of eating showed fewer negative brain changes over the course of the study than those with lower adherence to this dietary pattern.
A Mediterranean dietary pattern emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, and includes seafood, olive oil, and red wine (one 5-ounce glass a day for women and two for men, if desired), with typically low intake of red meats and sweets. The authors estimated that higher adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern could provide one-and-a-half to three-and-a-half years of protection against Alzheimer’s disease, and suggest further investigation into how diet can support healthy brain aging.