SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association
Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Olive Oil or Nuts Helps Improve Memory
The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high consumption of vegetables, nuts, and olive oil, along with limited consumption of meat and dairy. Researchers have already found that people who follow this regimen have lower risk of having a heart attack, but this type of diet could also help preserve memory.To better understand the potential benefits of the Mediterranean diet on memory, researchers in Spain randomly assigned 447 patients to three different types of diets. All patients were at a high risk for developing heart disease and had an average age of 67. Two groups were assigned to follow the Mediterranean diet and either incorporate at least 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or a handful of mixed nuts per day. The third, a control group, was only instructed to reduce the amount of fat intake in their diet. Patients were followed for an average of four years and periodically tested on various memory skills.Results found that the group given nuts did better in terms of memory and the group given extra virgin olive oil performed better on tests that required speed of thought. Memory in the control group declined over time, consistent with normal aging.