The Mediterranean diet has been recommended as a healthy diet to follow. For example, the Mayo Clinic's website notes that the Mediterranean diet is a heart healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet can also help keep your brain healthy, and may protect the brain during the aging process.
HealthDay News reports that in a new study, 4,000 adults ages 65 and over were given cognitive tests every three years during a 15-year testing period. Because of their ages and the amount of time the testing spanned, aging caused decline in cognitive functions, such as memory. However, participants who followed the Mediterranean diet had less cognitive decline when compared to the other participants.
The Mediterranean diet is more than just food: it also incorporates exercise and beverages. For example, the researchers of the cognitive aging study recommends regular physical activity as part of maintaining healthy cognitive function. Wine, and red wine in particular, is also part of the Mediterranean diet, though people who do not drink alcohol do not need to include this in their diet. The wine contains antioxidants and reduces blood clotting. But to stick to the Mediterranean diet, you cannot drink too much red wine. The Mayo Clinic's website points out that women should not drink more than five ounces of red wine each day.
A large part of the Mediterranean diet is vegetables and fruits. The Mayo Clinic's website notes that the Mediterranean diet lowers levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol. You can include nuts in your diet, but only eat a handful. Nuts are high in calories, though hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and pecans are low in saturated fat. Bread is an important part of the Mediterranean diet as well.
When choosing what oils and fats to include in your diet, olive oil should be the primary source of fat. You should also include omega-3 fatty acids, which lower triglycerides, according to the Mayo Clinic's website. Instead of using salt, substitute herbs. Another aspect of the Mediterranean diet is meat consumption. You should consume less red meat, and instead try for fish once a week, if not twice. Certain fish, like salmon, are omega-3 fatty acid rich and are brain healthy foods.
Diet is just one part in keeping your brain healthy. Keeping your brain active, such as through puzzles, reading and other mental stimulation, can help with your memory as you get older.