It prevents or delays the effects of cognitive impairment related to aging. It is rich in minerals and vitamins that act as a “shield” to the brain against dementia and has an anti-inflammatory activity
Ours is one of the oldest countries in Europe : life expectancy at birth, in 2019, is 81.1 years for men and 85.4 for women (Istat data). We have the help to get there with the years in health and with a clear brain : the Mediterranean diet which, according to Clinical Nutrition , improves memory and prevents or delays the effects of cognitive deterioration linked to aging .
Spanish researchers followed 487 volunteers for three years, half between men and women with an average age of 65, who were overweight or obese and who met at least three criteria for metabolic syndrome , which includes hypertension, hyperglycemia, excess fat around to life, low HDL cholesterol levels and high triglyceride levels. Thanks to neuropsychological tests carried out after one and three years, the researchers observed a link between adherence to the low-calorie Mediterranean diet and cognitive improvement, also influenced by weight loss and increased physical activity .
But why is this diet special?
“It is rich in vitamins and minerals that play a first level antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying role: they are the first defensive shield that acts as soon as oxidative stress occurs” explains Silvana Hrelia, full professor of Biochemistry at the University of Bologna . “The Mediterranean diet is also rich in nutraceuticals, molecules that need longer times to offer second-level protection: they reach our DNA and induce it to express protective genes capable of promoting the synthesis of antioxidant, anti- inflammatory enzymesand detoxifiers that strengthen and prolong the first level protective mechanisms. There is so little vitamin C in the brain that it cannot exert an antioxidant function. Some nutraceuticals, on the other hand, cross the blood brain barrier and induce the brain to produce those defenses that protect it from free radical attacks , also favoring the synthesis of molecules such as neurotrophins that increase synaptic plasticity, attention and memory “.