Researchers have concluded that the well-known healthiest Mediterranean diet is not only good for preventing heart disease, but also improves brain function, keeping the brain healthier, younger, thus preventing cognitive decline.
It is because the Mediterranean diet is composed of varieties of fresh fruits, and vegetables rich in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that helps to combat free radicals and reduces oxidative stress on the body. The diet is also based on good sources of fat and proteins that provide an ideal mix that improves and preserves brain function. Here are some of the key elements of the diet that helps in improving brain activity:
- Healthy oils, such as olive oil or walnut oil taken regularly is not only good for the heart compared to butter or margarine, but also enhances cognitive function.
- Similarly, rich sources of good fat, such as omega-3 fatty acids from fish, such as salmon, sardines and tuna are also important for nurturing the brain.
- Many varieties of nuts, especially walnuts, are a great source of healthy fats and nutrients that are beneficial for the brain.
- Phytonutrients from a mix of green and colored vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, cucumbers, scallions, asparagus, etc help to fight free radicals that otherwise damage the cells of our brains.
- Similarly, lots of fresh fruits such as peaches, figs, mixed berries, and apples rich in flavonoids, provide rich sources of plant-based nutrients that preserve and boost memory and cognitive function.
- Using more complex foods such as whole grains and cutting out on processed food with too much refined sugar also help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Lastly, the Mediterranean diet is not just about the food itself but the lifestyle as well. Meals are usually a big and important part of the day and is enjoyed thoroughly. It is one thing to savor and enjoy every bit of a healthy delicious meal and another to gobble down fast food standing up or in front of the TV or computer. The latter can be mindless eating while the former is a relaxed mindful event enjoyed with ones’ loved one.