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Eat like the Greek, forget less


For those considering switching to a Mediterranean-style diet, there's now another potential benefit to add to the list. Those who consume as the Greeks do may think a bit more clearly as they age.

According to a new study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, eating and drinking a Mediterranean-style diet--which typically includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, olive oil, wine and hardly any red meat--may slow brain aging.

"Incorporating more vegetables, more olive oil, fish and moderate wine consumption coupled with greater physical activity is good for our aging brains," Christine Tangney, lead researcher of Rush University Medical Center, recently told Reuters Health.

This type of diet has already been noted to aid in the prevention of serious ailments such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Tangney explained to Reuters Health how she worked with colleagues to observe the dietary habits and cognitive function of roughly 4,000 Midwesterners who are 65 or older.

Participants were given two scores (one related to how closely they followed the traditional Greek diet and the other related to how well they met the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines). Their cognitive functions related to things such as math skills and word memory were also assessed every three years.

Participants following the Mediterranean diet more closely seemed to have slower cognitive decline over time. For example, Tangney said if two older adults of the same age scored 10 points apart on their Mediterranean diet score, the person with the higher score would perform mentally as if they were three years younger than the other adult.

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