Mediterranean-Style Diets May Slow Brain Changes in Older Adults

Modifiable factors related to healthy aging are a critical area of research, since seniors comprise the fastest growing age demographic in the United States. In particular, a new study published by the American Academy of Neurology joins other studies reporting potential brain changes related to consuming a Mediterranean-style diet (MeDi), high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and plant-based oils, moderate in amounts of fish, low to moderate amounts of wine and dairy, and low amounts of poultry and meat.? This new study used MRI scans to measure total brain volume (TBV), gray matter volume (GMV), and mean cortical thickness in Scottish older adults at age 73 years (n=562) and 76 years (n=401).? The food frequencies were taken at the age of 70 years to determine adherence to a MeDi-type diet.? The study reported the group of adults with greater adherence to the MeDi-type diet showed lower total brain atrophy, greater TBV and GMV at 73-years old and greater GMV and cortical thickness at 76 years old. These results were not due to the underlying effects of low meat intakes or high fish intake, but rather due to the functional effects of interdependent dietary components in the MeDi-type diet.