The Mediterranean secret to a razor sharp memory

Remember yesterday’s discussion about fish, DHA, and brain health? Well, that’s not the only way that eating right can slam the brakes on cognitive decline…

Get this: A recent study featured in Frontiers in Nutrition analyzed the results of nearly 20 different papers published in the last 15 years, all focusing on the effects of the Mediterranean diet on cognitive health.

The verdict? High adherence to Mediterranean-style eating was associated with better brain health across the globe. Researchers noted improvements in attention, language, and memory in particular — both working and long-term, as well as executive and visual — regardless of where subjects lived. (And regardless of how old they were.)

Surprising? Not at all. Which is why results like this never fail to bring a satisfied smile to my face. And this one was especially gratifying, considering the lead author’s commentary.

The benefits of following a Mediterranean diet, he said, include “reducing inflammatory responses, increasing micronutrients, improving vitamin and mineral imbalances, changing lipid profiles by using olive oils as the main source of dietary fats, maintaining weight and potentially reducing obesity, improving polyphenols in the blood, improving cellular energy metabolism and maybe changing the gut micro-biota, although this has not been examined to a larger extent yet.”

Is there a pet topic of mine that wasn’t listed there? Not as far as I can tell… which, of course, is why a Mediterranean-style diet is and always has been the backbone of my nutrition recommendations.

Once again, “Mediterranean diet” is just a catch-all term for the type of eating I’ve personally championed for decades. Specific interpretations differ. But they all share a few key features. Including lots of fish and fresh vegetables. And maybe most notably, an abundance of monounsaturated fats.

Focus on fresh, whole foods and healthy fats — not just from fish and olives, but from MUFA-rich foods like avocadoes and macadamia nuts, too — and you’ll be doing your brain (not to mention the rest of your body) a very big favor.