What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. According to the chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor of medicine at Harvard University, JoAnn Manson, “the two are strongly connected.”
Manson is referring to findings that say a Mediterranean diet can help prevent age-related cognitive decline. A recent study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal reports that eating meals which include whole grains, fish, vegetables, olive oil, and nuts is an essential part of maintaining brain health.
A clinical trial was conducted in Spain comparing the brain health of seniors in their 60s and 70s. Researchers created two groups – the first was given a Mediterranean diet along with added servings of extra- virgin olive oil or nuts, every day. The second group was offered a lower-fat diet.
Each group was given a series of cognitive tests measuring the health of their brain which involved working memory, processing speed, and executive function. Researchers gave the test twice within a four-year period.
According to the results, the group that was given a lower-fat diet had poorer tests scores on the second cognitive test, while the group that was given the Mediterranean diet maintained the same scores on each test. While this may not seem significant, it does offer those diagnosed with the disease positive news says Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. “The key finding here is that this [Mediterranean] diet is preventing decline.”
A review published in the Journal Frontiers in Nutrition followed the effects a diet rich in nuts and olive oil had on cognitive processes – over a five-year period. Eighteen studies were done – 13 of which linked the Mediterranean diet with lower rates of decline and increased memory and recall.
Other findings included enhanced attention and language skills, as well as the lessening in the rate of Alzheimer’s development. No matter if the person was receiving personalized elder care or in-home care, the effects seemed to be the same in each of the countries that participated in the study.
Freedom Home Care has been an advocate for the cognitive health and wellness of seniors from its inception. On Thursday, August 24th we hosted a presentation on ways promote the reduction, delay and possible prevention of dementia.
The event was held at the Sheridan at Green Oaks, 29330 N Waukegan Road, Lake Bluff, IL with guest Emmaline Rasmussen, Nutrition Specialist & Clinical Research Dietitian from the Center for Brain Health at NorthShore University HealthSystem.
Attendees learned tips on how seniors can eat better for a healthier brain!