Study Finds Cognition May Be Improved by Mediterranean Diet

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Disability Help Group

Improving cognitive function is often a focus for older Americans who may face development of cognitive disorders like dementia as they age. Researchers have promoted low-fat diets as a way to help promote healthy brain function, but a new study has found greater benefits with the Mediterranean diet.

Researchers in Spain published their study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. The trial included 522 participants 55-80 years old who were being studied for the impact of diet on heart disease. Participants were on a low-fat diet or a Mediterranean diet with olive oil or with mixed nuts.

The participants were instructed to follow a specific diet for about 6.5 years. Assessments for cognitive performance were made through testing with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Clock Drawing Test (CDT). The researchers accounted for age, education, sex, family history of mental impairment, physical activity, and other factors that may affect results when evaluating the data, finding that the Mediterranean diet with olive oil or nuts may improve cognitive function compared to the low-fat diet.

The researchers found that of the 60 participants that developed mild cognitive impairment, 18 were on the Mediterranean diet with olive oil, 19 on the Mediterranean diet with nuts, and 23 on the low-fat diet. Of the 35 participants who were fully diagnosed with dementia, 12 were on the olive oil Mediterranean diet, six on the mixed nuts Mediterranean diet, and 17 were on the low-fat diet.

Many of the foods on the Mediterranean diet have been associated with overall health support and helping reduce the risk of many other disabling conditions such as heart disease. The Mediterranean diet focuses on healthy fats like olive oil and tree nuts, eating larger quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, and more fish and seafood for protein than red meat.

While Alzheimer’s and dementia are often thought to be disabling conditions developed after retirement, people of working age may develop these conditions before retirement age. If you or a loved one suffers from mental health conditions that impair ability to work and perform substantial gainful activity, Disability Help Group are here to help. Call today to discuss your situation with a case representative and see if you may qualify for long-term disability benefits – 1-(800)-800-3332.