Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet Keep Adding Up

Good news keeps rolling in about the health benefits of following a Mediterranean diet. The latest study published by investigators from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) adds evidence that following a Mediterranean diet helps to keep your brain functioning well. These findings come on the heels of a randomized study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that found a substantial reduction in heart attack and stroke for people who followed the diet for almost five years.

Georgios Tsivgoulis led the UAB study published in Neurology, which found a 19% reduction in the likelihood of  impaired brain function in patients who followed the diet closely for four years. Tsivgoulis notes that this is the largest study of its kind. He points out that a Mediterranean diet “has many benefits — cardiovascular, cancer risk, anti-inflammatory, central nervous system. We’re on the tip of the iceberg, and trying to understand what is below.”

The NEJM study found a 30% reduction in heart attacks, stroke, and death for people who followed the diet. It represents the first randomized study to document these benefits that had previously been associated with the diet in less rigorous studies that could not rule out confounding factors. The results were so clear that the study was stopped early because continuing would have been unethical.

Click here to read about the study of brain function, click here to access it in Neurology, click here to read about the study of stroke and heart disease, and click here to access it in the NEJM.

Olives in Bowl, image © Gphoto / Wikimedia

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