When the US News & World Report released its ranking of the best diets, many were surprised to see where some popular options came in on the list. The buzzed-about Mediterranean diet came in second place of the 38 eating plans, falling behind the DASH diet that's been the reigning number one for seven years in a row. So while we already know the Mediterranean diet is beneficial to your health and overall well-being, new research shed some light that its impact may be even more monumental.
A new study published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that older people who followed a Mediterranean diet retained more brain volume over a three-year period than those who did not. Even when researchers adjusted for variables that could affect brain volume—such as age, education, diabetes, and high blood pressure—the results remained the same.
Study author Michelle Luciano, Ph.D., of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, says that "[a]s we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells, which can affect learning and memory." Since the study's participants—all around age 70 and not exhibiting dementia—showed less loss in total brain volume, according to how closely they followed the Mediterranean diet, she says, "This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health."
Head to the comments to share your thoughts on the study, and let us know if you've ever tried or currently follow the Mediterranean diet.