Can a diet actually help with your cognitive thinking? Is it possible that it can help with your memory and thought processes?
Research has shown that following a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, depression, and dementia, including a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
A clinical trial performed in Spain compared the brain health of two random groups of people between the ages of 60 and 70, both male and female. One group ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and nuts; the other group ate a low-fat diet. Cognitive tests were done during the diet and then again four years later.
The study was able to determine that the group who followed the Mediterranean diet did not have any significant memory loss, whereas the group that followed the low-fat diet showed declines in their cognitive tests.
This study offered evidence that following a Mediterranean diet can help with cognitive thinking. Moreover, other studies have shown it can also help to reduce weight and reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
What the Mediterranean diet consists of:
Fresh fruits and vegetables—Be sure to have them at every meal and keep them handy for an occasional mid-afternoon snack.
Nuts—Not only are nuts and seeds a great way to get your healthy fats, they are high in fiber and protein. Some choices might be pistachios, cashews, walnuts or almonds.
Olive oil—By replacing your butter with olive oil, you will be cutting out the unhealthy fats from your diet. Olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids.
Spices—Instead of adding salt to your food, the best way to add flavor is with fresh spices like parsley, oregano, or sage.
Fish—Eat fish at least twice a week, if not more. Fish that is rich in omega-3, like salmon, trout, mackerel or herring are your best choices. The healthiest option for cooking fish is to
grill or broil it.
Foods to avoid: (Not just for this diet, but anytime)
Sugar—Candy and soda, or any type of refined sugar.
Processed foods—Any food item that is packaged.
Processed meats—Lunch meat, hot dogs, ham or bacon.
Refined vegetable oil—Canola, vegetable, soybean, sunflower and corn.
Changing the way you eat is not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle, and while studies have shown that eating a Mediterranean diet does have many health benefits, living an active life will also contribute to your health and well-being. Oh, and a glass of red wine every now and then doesn’t hurt either.
– The Alternative Daily