With benefits ranging from heart to weight management, the Mediterranean diet has captured the media spotlight in recent years. And now the University of California, Berkeley reports yet another key benefit of this easy to swallow diet, which is rich in olive oil, legumes, whole grains, fish, fruits and vegetables.
According to Berkeley Wellness, it may help preserve cognitive function in older people. This is the latest finding from the large Spanish clinical trial called PREDIMED, which made headlines in 2013 when it found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either additional olive oil or mixed nuts reduced the risk of stroke, compared to a control group on a lower-fat diet.
The journal reports that in this newer analysis of data from 447 cognitively healthy participants (average age 67), those who consumed extra nuts (an ounce a day) for four years showed slightly improved memory, while those given olive oil (an extra liter a week) showed modest improvements in general cognition; in contrast, the control group experienced cognitive declines.