Photo: CC0 Public Domain
In a new study from IMIM-Hospital del Mar, researchers found the Mediterranean diet does not only have beneficial effects for the cardiovascular health of those who follow it, but it can allow them to improve their memory and prevent or delay the effects of cognitive deterioration connected to aging.
However, these beneficial effects are not enjoyed equally by everyone, which leads to questioning the type of interventions based on dietary recommendations to adapt them to the individual features of each person.
In the study, the team followed a group of 487 volunteers with an average age of 65 years, for three years to analyze the effect of the traditional Mediterranean diet.
At the beginning of the study, participants were overweight or obese and met at least three criteria of the metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, an excess of fat around the waist, low levels of HDL cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides.
The metabolic syndrome is very common, being present in close to one in four adults globally, and entails a higher risk of suffering heart disease, cerebrovascular accidents, type-2 diabetes and cognitive deterioration.
The team found a direct link between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and cognitive improvement. This improvement can be due to weight loss and the increase in physical activity, which is also linked to an improved quality of life.
But not everyone has the same benefits. Women, the oldest people, those with a lower level of education and those with type-2 diabetes obtain the least benefits from following the Mediterranean diet.
Meanwhile, the volunteers with the lowest cognitive performance at the beginning of the study regarding memory and other cognitive functions have the least adherence to the Mediterranean diet, and the ones who have the least possibilities of achieving significant weight loss.
The researchers say the results obtained must make it possible to identify the groups with the most difficulties to benefit from these lifestyle interventions, to customize the measures and thus make it easier for them to adopt the healthy life guidelines proposed, thus also helping prevent cognitive deterioration.
If you care about nutrition, please read studies about these two things in diets may increase obesity and reduce muscle mass and findings of this diet may help lower risks of diabetes and high blood pressure.
For more information about diets and your health, please see recent studies about this diet could prevent diabetes and heart disease in older people and results showing that this diet plus vitamin C can be effective for hard-to-treat cancers.