International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Keeping Your Marbles: Another Reason to Eat Like a Greek

Plate of grilled fish

Image Creative Commons by Gorilla Girl

Another study has come out extolling the virtues of the Mediterranean diet. We've known for a while now that the traditional diet of the peoples around the coast of the Mediterranean Sea is good for your heart. But now comes evidence that it's good for your noggin too.

The study in question, published in the Archives of Neurology, looked at the eating habits of a large group of people divided into three smaller groups. In the first group were peope who consistently ate a diet made up largely of vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and fish supplemented with small amounts of healthy oils, meats, poultry and cheese — a Mediterranean diet. A second group followed a Mediterranean diet some of the time. And the third group didn't follow a Mediterranean diet at all.

By the end of the study, those who followed the diet most closely showed a significantly lower risk of developing "mild cognitive impairment," often a precursor to bigger problems like Alzheimer's down the road. Eating a Mediterranean diet also seemed to slow the decline of those who already had some impairment when the study began.

So if you haven't already, you might want to start cooking more like a Greek...or Italian, Spaniard, Arab or Turk. Here are some basic guidelines to follow as listed by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Eat generous amounts of fruits and vegetables
  • Use healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Eat fish on a regular basis and choose lean poultry
  • Consume very little red meat
  • Eat small portions of nuts regularly
  • Drink red wine in moderation

A link to the original study: Mediterranean Diet and Mild Cognitive Impairment (Archives of Neurology)