`Study: Green MedDiet Can Slow Brain Atrophy Among Over-50s - Olive Oil Times

Study: Green MedDiet Can Slow Brain Atrophy Among Over-50s

By Paolo DeAndreis
Jan. 17, 2022 13:43 UTC

A com­mon aging process known as brain atro­phy has been effec­tively lim­ited by the adop­tion of a Mediterranean diet sig­nif­i­cantly high in polyphe­nols and low in processed and red meat, known as Green-Med.

A team of researchers from Ben Gurion University in Israel has found sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fi­cial effects of Green-Med adop­tion on a large group of over­weight employ­ees at the Dimona Nuclear Research Center. Two hun­dred twenty-seven par­tic­i­pants com­pleted the 18-month trial dur­ing which sev­eral brain para­me­ters were ana­lyzed.

We could see that the Mediterranean diet and specif­i­cally the green-Mediterranean diet, which has much more polyphe­nols, could actu­ally pro­tect the brain and atten­u­ate age-related brain atro­phy.- Iris Shai, pro­fes­sor of nutri­tion, Harvard University

The employ­ees were divided into three groups. The first was asked to fol­low a healthy diet, the sec­ond one was instructed to adopt a tra­di­tional Mediterranean diet and the third one was asked to fol­low Green-Med. All of them were also asked to carry out spe­cific phys­i­cal activ­i­ties and all were given a free gym mem­ber­ship.

To enhance the high-polyphe­nol pro­file of Green-Med, the researchers intro­duced wal­nuts and green tea into the diet.

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In a note, researchers explained that the polyphe­nols in wal­nuts decrease the risk for demen­tia and reduce brain inflam­ma­tion. Green tea’s polyphe­nols are also known for their favor­able effects on cog­ni­tive func­tion and reduced inflam­ma­tion in the brain.

While wal­nuts were also given to the MedDiet group, sci­en­tists admin­is­tered a spe­cific strain of the Wolffia glo­bosa duck­weed, Mankai, an aquatic plant rich in pro­tein, to the Green-Med group. Frequently used in Asian cui­sine, Mankai is also rich in polyphe­nols, vit­a­mins and amino acids.

We guided the par­tic­i­pants to pre­pare a green Mankai shake with addi­tional ingre­di­ents, which were also part of the diet reg­i­men (fruits, wal­nuts or veg­eta­bles) each evening,” the researchers wrote. The green pro­tein shake par­tially sub­sti­tuted for din­ner, replac­ing beef or poul­try pro­tein sources.”

The sci­en­tists explained how the par­tic­i­pants’ brain struc­tures were eval­u­ated and mea­sured through mag­netic-res­o­nance imag­ing dur­ing the trial.

This 18-month clin­i­cal trial lon­gi­tu­di­nally mea­sured brain struc­ture vol­umes by mag­netic-res­o­nance-imag­ing using hip­pocam­pal-occu­pancy (HOC) and lat­eral-ven­tri­cle-vol­ume (LVV) expan­sion scores as neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion mark­ers,” they wrote.

During the trial, the par­tic­i­pants were also asked to per­form tests of choice-reac­tion time and other con­nected tasks used to esti­mate and mea­sure spe­cific brain abil­i­ties.

Those exam­i­na­tions uncov­ered how in sub­jects over 50 years of age HOC decline and LVV expan­sion were reduced in both MedDiet groups, with the best out­comes among the Green-Med diet par­tic­i­pants.

Improved insulin sen­si­tiv­ity over the trial was the strongest para­me­ter asso­ci­ated with brain atro­phy atten­u­a­tion,” the researchers wrote.

According to the sci­en­tists, greater Mankai, green tea and wal­nut intake and lower red and processed meat con­sump­tion were sig­nif­i­cantly and inde­pen­dently asso­ci­ated with reduced HOC decline.

In their opin­ion, the com­plete results show how a Green-Med, high-polyphe­nol diet, rich in Mankai, green tea and wal­nuts and low in red and processed meat is poten­tially neu­ro­pro­tec­tive for age-related brain atro­phy.

This is the longest and the largest MRI brain trial related to diet or any­thing,” Iris Shai, co-author of the study, told The Media Line. We were amazed to see such dra­matic changes in 18 months in human beings that we could iden­tify by anatom­i­cal struc­tures in the brain.”

It was actu­ally quite sur­pris­ing,” she added. We could see that the Mediterranean diet and specif­i­cally the green-Mediterranean diet, which has much more polyphe­nols, could actu­ally pro­tect the brain and atten­u­ate age-related brain atro­phy.”

The good results demon­strated by the group fol­low­ing the tra­di­tional Mediterranean diet also con­firmed its opti­mal healthy prop­er­ties.

Earlier this month, U.S. News & World Report once again named the Mediterranean diet as the best over­all diet.

Previous stud­ies have shown its poten­tial effects in pre­vent­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar and neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases, dia­betes, can­cer, degen­er­a­tive eye dis­eases and psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tions such as depres­sion.

It is also known to fos­ter longevity and its wider adop­tion falls in line with the 17 goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment.


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