It can be hard to know what to prioritize in dietary health and how to go about it once you’ve worked that out. Diets that emphasize weight loss and deal in the counting of calories may do what they say but end up depriving you of many things you need.
A wiser course, one that makes health its ultimate goal and weight merely a means to an end, would be to choose a diet that focuses on the needs of your more precious parts, the heart and brain. As they go, so go you, and both are hard to replace.
There just so happens to be a diet tailor made to meet those needs, and a new study finds that those who adhere to it suffer lower rates of dementia. You can’t complain about that. And this is no diet of privation and ordeal, but the delicious food-heavy Mediterranean diet!
The good news about the Mediterranean diet comes courtesy of researchers at Bonn, Germany’s German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. Led by Tommaso Ballarini, a postdoctoral researcher, they collected data on over 500 people, of whom more than 300 were unusually disposed towards Alzheimer's disease genetically. It was the hope of researchers that in this way a clear sign would point towards some particular eating habits as being more conducive to brain health.
As hoped for, the study found that those who did not follow a Mediterranean diet had higher levels of amyloid and tau, proteins associated with Alzheimer’s (although they are also found in the brains of elderly people who do not have Alzheimer’s. Your choice is clear: adopt the Mediterranean diet and take a big step towards saving your brain for the long haul!
The even better news is what your daily meals can look like while on the Mediterranean diet. If you like fish, you’re going to be very happy. And you can rest assured that blandness will be as much kept at bay as neurological disorder with the inclusion of olive oil. And similarly to many sensible diets, there is a sizable proportion in the Mediterranean diet of fruits and vegetables.
Imagine a day in the Mediterranean life: your breakfast is Italian caprese salad on toasted bread, with a balsamic glaze drizzled over it and plenty of garlic. At lunch, it’s a tuna spinach salad with olives, feta cheese and a tahini dressing. And for dinner, you’re feasting on a walnut and rosemary crusted salmon with a salad and roasted potatoes on the side. Sound pretty good?
Of course, the usual caveats apply: per lead researcher Ballarini, the study was unable to prove a cause and effect relationship, and he cautioned that further research would be required in order to confirm the findings of the initial study as far as the effects of the Mediterranean diet on Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
However, it is far more certain that the diet is generally healthy, not just for the brain, but for the heart as well. And with the rich array of options that come from one corner of the Mediterranean sea or another, you can take care of your body without boring your taste buds with the same meal twice for so long that even a brain of your unparalleled health won’t be able to recall the last repeat. So dig in!