Saturday, September 12, 2015

Why People Should Have Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean diet is not new. As shown by numerous studies, it can help people live longer and prevent heart disease. Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, fish and poultry, and limiting intake of red meat. It may incorporate cooking with olive oil, herbs and spices. If desirable, red wine may also be added as part of the diet but in moderation and is not compulsory.

Researchers from Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques at Hospital Clinic, Barcelona and other institutions found that Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts might help prevent age-related cognitive decline in older population. Their findings were released online May 11, 2015 and published in July 2015 in the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA Internal Medicine’.

A group of 447 volunteers (233 of them were women) in Spain, who had an average age of 67, were followed. They were considered at high risk of heart disease, which has somehow been known to relate to dementia: people with a higher risk of one frequently have a higher risk of the other.

The volunteers were divided into 3 groups: 155 were assigned in the group with 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil added each day, 144 belonged to the group with 30 grams of nuts (a mix of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds) added a day, and the remaining people were asked to have the low-fat diet.

From time to time, the volunteers were tested on memory skills. The group who ate the extra nuts did better in terms of memory and the group given extra virgin olive oil performed better on tests that required quick thinking.

Slightly more than 13 percent of those in the group getting extra olive oil and about 7 percent of those in the group getting nuts were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment that may or may not lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Around 13 percent of those in the group with low-fat diet developed memory loss. 

Over the period of 4 years, many of the volunteers actually had their memories get better. On average, those in the low-fat group lost some memory and thinking skills but those who got extra nuts had their memory skills improve, and those who got olive oil had improvement in problem-solving and planning skills.

In view of the lack of effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, it is necessary to have preventive measures to delay the start or minimize the effects of these conditions. Though the current findings on Mediterranean diet is encouraging, according to researchers, further studies are still necessary for confirmation.


  1. Mediterranean diet can help us away from heart disease to some extent.

  2. Actually, the Mediterranean diet is very new to me. after reading this post, I understand that the Mediterranean diet means eating without red meet. right? although it can protect us from heart disaeases, I want to know if this can lead to the malnutrition without eating red meet? and if it will do something with our immune system?