NEWS: Mediterranean diet reduces risk of cognitive impairment

A new study suggests that following a Mediterranean diet may help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and slow the rate of cognitive decline at a population level.

Medical News Today has reported on the research, which features in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The authors of the new study wanted to explore the possible role of the diet in combatting dementia within a population. In particular, they wanted to see what effect a Mediterranean diet might have on relative cognition.

According to a 2017 article in the journal Nutrition Today, research has shown the Mediterranean diet to have a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, breast and bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.

It was the relationship between this last health issue and the Mediterranean diet that the authors of the present study wanted to look at in more detail.

Reduced risk of cognitive impairment

The authors found that stricter adherence to a Mediterranean diet resulted in a reduced risk of cognitive impairment and a higher numerical result in cognitive functioning scores. In particular, the authors found that consumption of fish was particularly associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment, as well as slower general cognitive decline.

The differences in cognition were relatively small, which means that at an individual level, they are unlikely to be noticeable. However, the results could make more of a difference at a population level.

As the authors note, the study did have some limitations. While they accounted for some factors that may have affected the results, such as each participant’s relative level of education, the team did not account for some other confounding factors.

For example, it could be that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are generally more physically active, which can significantly reduce the risk of various major health issues.

Nonetheless, the research contributes to a growing body of evidence that a Mediterranean diet can make a significant difference to the general health of a population.

Read the full article here.