"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

The Mediterranean weight loss program may help prevent age-related decline in memory and considering skills.

When I make a salad, I drizzle it with olive oil and throw in a handful of toasted walnuts. Could this easy, delicious habit help me stay mentally sharp for years to return? May be. A brand new study this week JAMA Internal Medicine It suggests that a Mediterranean-style weight loss program enriched with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts is nice on your brain in addition to your heart.

The findings, which come from a long-term clinical trial of various diets, are the primary to point out the potential brain advantages of 1 weight loss program over one other.

The participants were part of a bigger Spanish trial called PREDIMED, for brief Prevention with the Mediterranean Diet (which stands for “prevention with the Mediterranean diet”). The plant-based Mediterranean weight loss program focuses totally on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other legumes, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. It also includes moderate amounts of seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy, but features a small helping of beef and sweets.

Most of the participants were of their 60s and 70s and their age was in danger for heart disease. Most were obese and plenty of had hypertension or high cholesterol. They were divided into three groups: one followed a Mediterranean-type weight loss program and likewise ate an additional ounce of mixed nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds) a day; Another followed a Mediterranean-type weight loss program and consumed five tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil a day. A 3rd group, which served as a control, followed a low-fat weight loss program.

All 447 participants on this a part of the randomized trial took six different tests of cognitive function—a mixture of memory and considering skills—at first of the trial. Three-quarters of them accomplished the identical tests again about 4 years later.

In the control group, average scores on each sorts of tests — memory and considering skills — fell over those 4 years. In comparison, those following a Mediterranean-type weight loss program with extra servings of nuts improved their average memory test scores, while those following a Mediterranean weight loss program with extra servings of olive oil didn’t. Test scores of considering skills improved amongst those.

Although the outcomes of this study are promising, just a few caveats have to be kept in mind: this study included only a small proportion (6%) of all preclinical participants. The trial was not designed to take a look at the connection between weight loss program and mental health. And 1 / 4 of participants never took the second round of tests. All of which means the outcomes have to be taken with a grain of salt.

How can olive oil and nuts help?

Researchers have long appreciated the connections between the circulatory system and the brain. “This makes sense because the brain is an oxygen-starved organ. You need healthy blood vessels for a healthy brain,” says Dr. Okirek.

The latest findings are consistent with earlier studies showing that folks who closely follow the Mediterranean weight loss program are more likely to take care of their memory and considering skills over time. Still, the authors and other experts agree that more research is required. Dr. Okirek is interested in what different effects of olive oil and nuts appear to be. “It would be great if future studies like this could be linked to neuroimaging to see how and where these different diets produce the specific cognitive performance changes seen in the study,” she says.

To date, there isn’t a evidence of any negative unwanted effects of eating olive oil, nuts, or a complete Mediterranean weight loss program, so long as you don't devour more calories than you wish and gain weight. So I’ll proceed to enjoy my salad and look ahead to learning and remembering latest research on the Mediterranean weight loss program in the longer term.