The benefits the Mediterranean diet delivers go beyond having a healthy body. A recent study shows that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes, whole grains, little red meat and a glass of wine every now and then is good for your brain too.
ABC News writes that according to a new study published in the Archives of Neurology, the Mediterranean diet may reduce small vessel damage to the brain. Researchers from the University of Miami and Colombia took part in the study that analyzed 966 food frequency questionnaires to identify risk factors for stroke and coronary disease.
Researchers had their 966 study participants to undergo MRI brain scans and analyzed their white matter hyperintensity volume to seek traces of small vessel disease. After they put together their results, researchers found that those participants following a Mediterranean diet had fewer brain lesions. Another finding showed that people who exercised regularly were more likely to consume foods based on the Mediterranean diet.
Dr. Clinton Wright, associate professor of neurology at Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami Medical Center and senior author of the study: “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”.
The small vessel disease affects the small arteries in the heart by narrowing them. According to information from the Mayo Clinic, these disease causes chest pain, artery blockages and it is a common problem of women and diabetics.
Dr. Wright explains that the small vessels are “like wires that connect computers”. When factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking and the like, damage the small vessels 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”.
The lesions are linked to cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. “Normally, these lesions are associated with hypertension, high-cholesterol, diabetes and age” added Dr. Clinton Wright.
In the end, a Mediterranean based diet is without doubt full of gains. Studies show that eating a Mediterranean diet is linked to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, heart disease, stroke and even dementia.