A new study reveals that people who followed the Mediterranean diet had reduced signs of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, those who closely followed the diets had “almost 40% lower odds” of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which is notable to say the least.
So, what is it about the Mediterranean diet that so profoundly supports brain health? And should everyone looking to prevent cognitive decline switch to a diet with similar ingredients and nutritional beneifts?
Leading Alzheimer’s and neurodegenerative disease researcher, Dr. Dale Bredesen has spent his career on the forefront of research into the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. His book, The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline details his incredible work slowing and even reversing cognitive decline in some patients. Bredesen is one of the most important figures in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases today.
With the new research, we asked Dr. Bredesen to provide insights on the Mediterranean diet and why it is considered so beneficial for the brain…
The New Study on the Mediterranean Diet x Alzheimer Disease
As published in Neurology recently, the Alzheimer’s pathology from autopsies was compared in those with different diets, and the Mediterranean diet was found to be associated with less Alzheimer’s pathology, and specifically with less amyloid pathology. Among specific components of the diet, green leafy vegetables were found to be associated with lower Alzheimer’s pathology.
Why Is The Mediterranean Diet Beneficial?
Several biochemical mechanisms are key for Alzheimer’s disease, such as inflammation, toxin exposure, and energy (blood flow, oxygenation, glucose and ketones); and the diet addresses these in multiple ways:
+ High omega-3 for anti-inflammatory effect and support of good blood flow. These good fats also provide energy for the brain and support synapse formation (neuronal connections, which are lost in Alzheimer’s).
+ Low glycemic, thus avoiding both diabetes and periods of hypoglycemia (both of which can contribute to cognitive decline).
+ High in phytonutrients such as polyphenols (which also exert an anti-inflammatory effect).
+ Excellent fiber, both insoluble and soluble, thus feeding your gut microbiome and helping to avoid leaky gut.
+ Multiple vitamins and minerals (such as folate and other B vitamins from the green leafy vegetables, and selenium for detox).
+ Good fats such as the oleic acid in extra virgin olive oil.
Dr. Bredesen’s Top 6 Foods For Brain Health
01 | Green leafy vegetables such as kale, arugula, and romaine lettuce.
02 | Wild caught fish Look for non-farmed, low-mercury, high omega-3 fish. Remember “SMASH” when you’re selecting the best fish: salmon, mackerel (not king mackerel), anchovies, sardines, and herring.
03 | Crucifers such as Brussels sprouts that are great for detoxification.
04 | Probiotic foods such as fermented foods like sauerkraut help to optimize the gut microbiome.
05 | Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, etc. (low glycemic index, high in unsaturated oils; don’t eat more than a handful because they do have some pro-inflammatory omega-6 oils).
06 | Avocados are full of healthy monounsaturated fats and are high in fiber.
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.