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Med diet proves best for memory

Med diet proves best for memory

If you were asked what the healthiest diet in the world was, what would you say? Chances are the Mediterranean way of eating would be up there, as it's long been lauded for its use of healthy fats and vegetables. And now there could be even more reason to get stuck in as new research has suggested eating this way might protect against memory loss.

Researchers looked at 27,860 people across 40 countries over five years. All of them were over 55 and had ailments including diabetes or a history of heart disease, although people with serious illnesses such as a recent stroke weren't looked at.

All the participants were tested on their memory and thinking skills when the study began, two years later and then when it ended. They were also quizzed on the type of food they ate, so it was known whether their diets were rich in the vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes, fish and olive oil which make up the Mediterranean way of eating.

Their initial tests were scored, and it was decided that their memory and thinking skills had slipped if their subsequent results declined by three.

It was discovered that those who ate the healthiest were 24 per cent less likely to see a dip in their outcome when compared to those who ate the worst. 14 per cent of people who ate well saw their functions decline, with 18 per cent of those who were less into vegetables and fruits taking a dip.

To keep things fair, researchers also came up with some numbers which took things like the amount of exercise undertaken into account, but the results remained the same.

Professor Andrew Smyth, of McMaster University in Canada, is the study's author and suggested that part of the reason for the outcome was that healthy diets tend to mean people look after themselves in other areas too.

The Mediterranean diet is native of places like Italy, Greece and Spain and sees people eating more starchy food like bread and pasta, increasing their vegetable intake and reducing the amount of meat they have. It's good because it reduces the amount of animal fat which is taken in, which has been linked to triggering cancers.

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