The Mediterranean diet slowed age-related mental decline in elderly Chicago residents, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center. The investigators noted that a Manhattan population following the Mediterranean diet also showed slower mental decline and lower rates of Alzheimers dementia.
Over 3,000 study participants (2,280 blacks, 1,510 whites) were studied for an average of eight years. Food consumption was determined by questionnaires, and mental function was tested every three years. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was judged according to a Mediterranean diet score developed by Panagiotakis, et al.
The greater the adherence to the Greek-style Mediterranean diet, the lower the rate of mental decline over the course of the study.
Mental decline to some extent is a normal part of aging. If we can avoid it or lessen it’s impact, why not? A couple ways to do that are regular exercise and the Mediterranean diet.
Would a low-carb Mediterranean diet work just as well or better? Nobody knows yet.
Reference: Tangney, Christine, et al. Adherence to a Mediterranean-type dietary pattern and cognitive decline in a community population. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010. doi 10.3945/ajcn.110.007369