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Scientists discover yet another benefit of the Mediterranean diet

May 23, 2013

The Mediterranean diet, which focuses on healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, is considered to be one of the healthiest options for seniors, and new research supports that notion. Scientists from Spain's University of Navarra found that the diet may have a positive impact on the brain power of older adults, according to findings published in Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

To measure the impact of the Mediterranean diet, researchers analyzed the health of more than 520 men and women between 55 and 80. Eventually, the subjects took a test that assessed their cognitive function ranging from high brain function to memory, and scientists found those who followed the Mediterranean diet performed better on the test than those who simply looked to control their fat intake. 

While this is one of the first studies to demonstrate the brain-boosting capabilities of the Mediterranean diet, seniors can reap healthy aging benefits from the diet in other respects. According to the Mayo Clinic, the diet has proven to significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. Other research has shown it could help lower the chances of Parkinson's and certain types of cancer.