Washington: For many years researchers have found a link between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of age-related disease such as dementia, but until now there has been no systematic review of such research.
A team of researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School, supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care in the South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC), has carried out the first such systematic review, where a Mediterranean diet and cognitive function are reviewed for consistencies, common trends and inconsistencies.
The team analysed 12 eligible pieces of research, 11 observational studies and one randomised control trial.
In nine out of the 12 studies, a higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer`s disease.
However, results for mild cognitive impairment were inconsistent.
A Mediterranean diet typically consists of higher levels of olive oil, vegetables, fruit and fish. A higher adherence to the diet means higher daily intakes of fruit and vegetables and fish, and reduced intakes of meat and dairy products.
The findings are published in the journal Epidemiology.