Home Health Mediterranean diet can keep your mind sharp in old age – even if your brain show signs of dementia, study finds

Mediterranean diet can keep your mind sharp in old age – even if your brain show signs of dementia, study finds

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A large amount of research has designated the Mediterranean diet as the reference dietary regimen.
  • The Mediterranean diet includes many fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil.
  • Participants who followed had higher scores on tests of cognitive function.
  • READ MORE: ‘Skinny fat’ increases Alzheimer’s risk even MORE than obesity

The Mediterranean diet may help keep the brain alert in old age, even if signs of dementia are shown, a study suggests.

Researchers at Rush University in Chicago found that people who followed the Mediterranean diet scored higher on tests of cognitive function, even if they had signs of Alzheimer’s in their brains after they died.

Other important factors included not smoking, drinking minimal alcohol, and exercising frequently.

One of the reasons the diet is thought to combat cognitive decline is because it is balanced and keeps you fuller longer, making you less likely to eat high-calorie junk food.

This keeps weight stable and healthy, reducing the risk of obesity-related vascular problems that can affect brain function.

Some research suggests that the abundance of fruits and vegetables in the diet also plays a role, as they are rich in antioxidants that protect the brain.

A large amount of research has designated the Mediterranean diet as the reference dietary regimen.

The researchers used data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a study with autopsy data from 1997 to 2022 and up to 24 years of follow-up.

They looked at 586 participants who had died at an average age of 91 years.

A healthy lifestyle score was developed for each participant based on self-reported factors, including smoking, whether participants did at least two and a half hours of exercise per week, alcohol consumption, a Mediterranean diet, and a score of cognitive activity.

The overall healthy lifestyle score ranged from one to five, with higher scores reflecting a healthier lifestyle.

The researchers compared this to a cognitive score from tests taken less than a year before the participants’ death.

In the Rush Memory and Aging Project, participants’ cognitive function was assessed each year with 19 tests.

A higher lifestyle score was associated with better cognitive functioning around death.

After their deaths, the participants’ brains were removed and examined for signs of Alzheimer’s, such as amyloid beta and tau tangles.

Even if the participants’ brains showed signs of Alzheimer’s, their healthy lifestyle still seemed to protect them to some extent from cognitive decline, the study showed.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Neurology.

The Mediterranean diet is made up of abundant fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil.

A large amount of research has designated the Mediterranean diet as the reference dietary regimen.

A study published last year found that switching to a Mediterranean diet from the normal Western diet can help you live longer, and the sooner you start your life, the better.

But even if you don’t start eating the Mediterranean diet until age 60, you can expect to live eight years longer, the study found.

And adopting the diet at age 80 still increases life expectancy by about three years.

Dementia is the general term for a group of conditions associated with loss of memory, language and judgment.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of the disease, affecting more than six million Americans, while Lewy body dementia is the second most common type, with approximately one million living with the condition.

What is Alzheimer’s and how is it treated?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative brain disease in which the buildup of abnormal proteins causes the death of nerve cells.

This disrupts the transmitters that carry messages and causes the brain to shrink.

More than five million people suffer from the disease in the United States, where it is the sixth leading cause of death, and more than a million Britons suffer from it.


As brain cells die, the functions they perform are lost.

That includes memory, orientation, and the ability to think and reason.

The progress of the disease is slow and gradual.

On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some can live ten to 15 years.


  • Short-term memory loss.
  • Disorientation
  • Behavior changes
  • Humor changes
  • Difficulty handling money or making a phone call.


  • Severe memory loss, forgetting close relatives, familiar objects or places.
  • Feeling anxious and frustrated about the inability to make sense of the world, leading to aggressive behavior.
  • Over time he loses the ability to walk.
  • You may have problems eating
  • Most will eventually need 24-hour care


There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

However, there are some treatments that help relieve some of the symptoms.

One of them is acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, which help brain cells communicate with each other.

Another is menanthin, which works by blocking a chemical called glutamate that can build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and inhibit mental function.

As the disease progresses, Alzheimer’s patients may begin to exhibit aggressive behavior and/or suffer from depression. Medications may be provided to help mitigate these symptoms.

Other non-pharmaceutical treatments are also recommended, such as brain training to improve memory and help combat one of the aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Fountain: Alzheimer’s Association and the National Health Service

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