Mediterranean diet may help prevent dementia, study says

In a study, people who most closely followed a Mediterranean-like diet were 36% less likely to have areas of brain damage.

Eating a diet rich in healthy fats and limiting dairy and meat could do more than keep your heart healthier. It could also help keep you thinking clearly.

New research shows that sticking to the Mediterranean diet, previously shown to reduce heart and other health issues, also may help lower the risk of having small areas of dead tissue linked to thinking problems. Known as brain infarcts, they’re involved in vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia, after Alzheimer’s disease.

“We’ve got these diseases of aging that cause disability, cost a ton of money to treat and manage, and wreck people’s lives,” said Dr. Gregory Cole, a professor of medicine and neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in this new study. “You’ve got to get in there and figure out what actually works for prevention, and not have people guessing.”

A Mediterranean diet includes a lot of fruit, vegetables and fish, olive oil, legumes and cereals, and fewer dishes containing dairy, meat, poultry, and saturated fatty acids than other diets. It also involves small to moderate amounts of alcohol.

Here’s the full CNN report.