London: Researchers say that eating a Mediterranean-style diet–high in fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grains and ‘healthy’ fats such as those in olive oil, while low in red meat and dairy products– helps keep the brain healthy, reducing age-related damage.The Mediterranean diet is regarded as the classic eating habits of populations from countries such as France, Greece, Spain and Italy.It has been thought to improve heart health and stave off cancer.But a new US study shows further benefits to the brain where it is linked to lower levels of white matter hyperintesity volume, a marker of damage to the small vessels, the Daily Mail reported.Some researchers believe the diet keeps the grey cells healthy by cutting inflammation, while others say the high intake of antioxidant vitamins may also protect the brain.The new study examined for the first time the relationship between the Mediterranean diet and lesions in the brain, known as white matter hyperintensities (WHM).Study leader Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues looked at data on almost 1,000 people with an average age of 72 years taking part in the Northern Manhattan Study.Participants were given a food frequency questionnaire to assess dietary patterns during the previous year, and answers were used to determine a score from 0-9 indicating how much they stuck to a Mediterranean diet, with a higher MeDi score showing greater compliance.The volume of chronic age-related white matter damage was measured using brain MRI scans.
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