Previous studies showed the Mediterranean Diet can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, but now researchers believe it’s also good for your brain. Researchers from University of Miami and Columbia University had 966 participants for this study fill out food frequency questionnaires. The participants then went in for a MRI of the brain so scientists could exam the white matter hyper-intensity volume, which is a sign of small vessel disease. After the MRI, researchers found that those study participants who followed the Mediterranean Diet more closely had fewer brain lesions than those people who had a higher fat diet.
Senior author of the study, Dr. Clinton Wright, associate professor of neurology at Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami Medical Center said, “Normally, these lesions are associated with hypertension, high-cholesterol, diabetes and age. We saw that there was a relationship between diet and this marker of small vessel disease. Those who adhered to a more Mediterranean diet had less small vessel damage.”
Small vessel disease is a condition in which the small arteries in the heart become narrowed. Dr. Clinton Wright explained, “The brain is made up of grey matter and white matter. Grey matter is made up billions of cell bodies and neurons, while white is the connection between those neurons. They’re like wires that connect computers. When small vessels get damaged due to hypertension or diabetes or smoking and the like, those little vessels get damaged in a way that they become thicker and blood doesn’t flow to the brains as well, or there is fluid from the vessel leaking out, and that’s what causes those white matter lesions.”
Research authors noted that this brain study was just to observe, but results could vary with healthy dietary patterns or to the foods themselves in this Mediterranean Diet meal plan.
The Mediterranean Diet meal plan consists of: high consumption of virgin olive oil, high intake of vegetables and fruits and legumes, use of non refined carbohydrates, consumption of fish, specially oily (or “bluish” one) three o for times a week, consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt, three or four eggs per week, moderate consumption of meat and saturated fats, one or two small glasses of wine a day, preferably red and at the main meals. White wine and beer are alternatives. Nuts as snacks.