The Mediterranean DietThe Mediterranean diet is considered among the healthiest and the most beneficial diets on the planet. Traditional eating habits of Greece, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Morocco, South France, and other countries of the region, known as the Mediterranean diet, include consuming plenty of dietary fiber from fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy oil from fish and olive oil, as well as lower amounts of sugars, saturated fat and carbs, thus, decreased amounts of calories compared with traditional European or North American types of diet. The most important Mediterranean diet benefits include very effective natural protection against such common health conditions as cardiovascular diseases, most types of cancer, skin problems, digestive disorders, and some others. In addition, according to the recent findings, using this type of diet can assist in decreasing type 2 diabetes and even help fight depression.

Many specialists used to believe that choosing this type of diet can be a great solution to lower the risk for mental decline, improve brain function and reduce dementia risk linked to aging, since the Mediterranean diet is rich in natural omega 3 acids essential for normal function of our brain and supporting our mental abilities. So suggested the studies aimed to research the effects of omega 3 acids on our brain function which found out that consuming plenty of natural omega 3 acid sources can aid in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia risk lowering. However, this week the findings of one more research were published saying that prolonged practical experiments and analyzing health condition of those who consumed the Mediterranean diet for over 10 years did not  result with finding any evidence supporting the idea of this diet being useful to our brain.

A group of researchers at Paris Sorbonne University analyzed the data collected for over a decade on about 3,000 middle-aged participants of the study. During the analysis, the participants were divided into three major groups according to the level of ‘similarity’ of their daily diet to the classic Mediterranean type diet. By the end of the decade, those of the participants who reached the age of 65 and above were offered a number of tests with the objective to assess their mental abilities, primarily their ability to memorize various information and their abilities to focus and concentrate. dementia riskUnfortunately, there were no significant differences reported between the scores by those elderly people who consumed the diet closest to the traditional Mediterranean one, and those who consumed any other type of diet, sometimes totally different from the Mediterranean type.

Therefore, according to the conclusions of the French scientific group, no links between consuming Mediterranean diet foods like oily fish, high quality olive oil or plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and boosted concentration or reduced dementia risk were found. ‘Midlife adherence to a Mediterranean type of Diet was not associated with global cognitive performance [brain power assessed 13 years later],’ Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot, one of the authors of the study and an expert of Nutrition Epidemiology in Paris Sorbonne University wrote in the report. The findings of this study were published earlier this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (February 2012 issue) and evoked a great interest from the world’s leading nutritionists and nutrition scientists. Here, you can check out more information and find extended data related to this research.

It is interesting that this study is actually not the first one which found no connections between dementia risk reduction and the Mediterranean diet. A year ago, the conclusions of another research team from France, the experts from the Foundation for Public Health in Paris, were published. The researchers studied memory and cognitive test performance of a group of women aged 65 and above. They also failed to find strong links between the diet and brain function. However, many experts pointed to an obvious lack of evidence to draw any kind of conclusions in that study. Possibly, the current research in Paris Sorbonne University was a more successful and scientifically stronger follow up for it. Keep in mind that still, despite of the absence of positive effects for human brain function, the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest and strongly recommended to all people around the world.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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