By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
With all the fad diets out there today, how do you know what is real, what works, and what is just a bunch of clever jargon designed to sell books or sell questionable supplements?
A simple answer to a complex problem is to first understand that there are no perfect solutions. There is not a single diet that can lead to good health, forever. With that said, a good start is to begin eating healthy vegetables, fruits, and lean meats while simultaneously keeping your calories relatively low.
A healthy diet can protect your brain
While healthy food choices can fight diseases and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease, did you know that a healthy diet may also be able to protect your brain from developing Alzheimer’s and dementia?
The Mediterranean diet may prevent brain diseases
Research suggests the Mediterranean diet may play a central role in preventing brain degenerative diseases. In fact, a recent study sampled 923, 58-98-year-old people throughout 4.5 years. The authors of the study found that moderate-to-high adherence to the Mediterranean diet significantly reduced Alzheimer’s disease risk.
In a different study, 192 community-based participants were asked to rate their adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the results revealed that higher adherence was linked to lower mortality rates.
Furthermore, it may be possible that closely following [a better diet] the Mediterranean diet further improves [better outcomes] your fight against neurodegenerative brain diseases. While these studies could not conclude that the Mediterranean diet specifically caused positive changes in brain health, the results do shed light regarding the benefit of a healthy, balanced diet on potentially preventing brain disease.
The Mediterranean diet may sound sophisticated; however, the diet primarily consists of vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, and whole grains. With the Mediterranean diet, dairy, fish, and poultry are secondary food sources to plant-based foods and red meats can also be sparingly consumed.
Simply put, the Mediterranean diet is a sensible balanced diet most people can follow as it emphasizes more of a lifestyle change as opposed to strict dieting tactics. Eating mostly plant foods can provide your body and brain with wholesome nutrients that may protect against disease.
Scarmeas, N., Luchsinger, J. A., Mayeux, R., & Stern, Y. (2007). Mediterranean diet and Alzheimer disease mortality. Neurology, 69(11), 1084-1093.
Morris, M. C., Tangney, C. C., Wang, Y., Sacks, F. M., Bennett, D. A., & Aggarwal, N. T. (2015). MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 11(9), 1007-1014.
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