Monday, October 7, 2013

Mediterranean diet lowers Alzheimer’s and depression.

The Mediterranean diet has been associated with lower risk of various age-related diseases including CVD, some cancers and Alzhiemer’s. A recent review of twelve studies found that following a Mediterranean diet is associated with slower cognitive decline and a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer disease. In an older study of 2258 elderly New Yorkers with no dementia they found a higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. More importantly the more they followed the Mediterranean diet the lower the risk. They found that each increasing point on the Mediterranean diet score was linked with a 10 per cent drop in Alzheimer's risk and individuals whose diet closely resembled the Mediterranean diet had a 40 per cent lower risk of Alzheimer's than those who adhered the least to the diet (Scarmeas et al, 2006).  In support of this a number of studies have also reported the benefits of eating fruit, vegetables and oily fish for reducing your risk of Alzheimer's disease.

In other research following a Mediterranean-style diet is also associated with lower risk for developing depression. After a 4 year follow-up, people who followed the Mediterranean diet had lower hazard ratios for incident self-reported depression. High consumption of fruits and nuts, legumes, monounsaturated- to saturated-fatty-acids ratio and fish were each separately associated with lower depression risk (Sánchez-Villegas et al 2009).

However, the Mediterranean diet is not pasta, pizza and lots of cheese. The Mediterranean dietary is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and legumes; low in dairy, meat, junk food, trans fatty acids; moderate alcohol intake; and high ratio of monounsaturated-to-saturated fatty acids. Moreover, a particular feature of the diet is the abundant use of virgin olive oil in everything from cooking to spreading on bread and salads. Not vegetable oils or margarine. In fact, the exact opposite. The diet's is rich in many nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamin C, tocopherols, polyphenols, and essential minerals.

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