`More Confirmation Mediterranean Diet Protects from Brain Diseases

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More Confirmation Mediterranean Diet Protects from Brain Diseases

Oct. 30, 2013
Elena Paravantes

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A group of Greek researchers con­ducted a review of 22 stud­ies and found that adher­ence to a Mediter­ranean diet may reduce the risk of stroke, depres­sion, cog­ni­tive impair­ment, and Parkin­son dis­ease.

The study pub­lished in the jour­nal Annals of Neu­rol­ogy lead by Theodora Psaltopoulou, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Epi­demi­ol­ogy and Pre­ven­tive Med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­sity of Athens School of Med­i­cine, was a meta-analy­sis of eli­gi­ble stud­ies that cov­ered stroke, Parkinson’s dis­ease, cog­ni­tive impair­ment and depres­sion. The researchers found that high adher­ence to the Mediter­ranean diet was con­sis­tently asso­ci­ated with reduced risk of stroke, depres­sion and cog­ni­tive impair­ment. Mod­er­ate adher­ence was asso­ci­ated mostly with a reduced risk of depres­sion and cog­ni­tive impair­ment but not so much for stroke.

The researchers men­tion that for depres­sion, the pro­tec­tive effects of high adher­ence to the diet appeared inde­pen­dent of age, but this pro­tec­tive effect was less when there was mod­er­ate adher­ence and older age.

One of the most inter­est­ing find­ings was that the pro­tec­tive effect from depres­sion was observed in both Mediter­ranean and non-Mediter­ranean coun­tries.

While the Mediter­ranean diet is known for being heart healthy, sev­eral stud­ies have shown that this eat­ing pat­tern can pro­tect from var­i­ous dis­eases of the brain. Some stud­ies attribute this pro­tec­tive effect to the con­sump­tion of foods rich in antiox­i­dants such as olive oil, fruit, veg­eta­bles and nuts while oth­ers also see ben­e­fits of indi­vid­ual foods in the Mediter­ranean diet such as extra vir­gin olive oil and wal­nuts.

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