A new study published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia adds more to the consensus of dietary intervention and its beneficial effects on cognitive health.
In the study, released by researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute (NEI), implementing a strict Mediterranean diet of whole grains, fish, olive oil, whole fruits and vegetables to your daily routine, was said to improve cognitive function, decreasing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
7,756 participants took part in two randomized trials of nutritional supplements utilized to treat age-related macular degeneration. As part of the two trials, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2, the participants were assessed for diet at the study’s initiation, as well as cognitive function throughout the whole duration.
For assessing cognitive function, researchers used the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination, in addition to other tests. Dietary factors were gathered using questionnaires given to the participants.
Arriving at the study’s conclusion, researchers confirmed that implementing a Mediterranean diet was correlated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment. Furthermore, vegetable and fish intake led to the most significant beneficiary effects, the findings indicated.
“Fish intake was associated with higher cognitive function. In AREDS2, rate of cognitive decline over 5 to 10 years was not significantly different by aMED but was significantly slower with higher fish intake,” according to the findings.
“Closer Mediterranean diet adherence was associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment but not slower decline in cognitive function.”
As a whole, the findings strengthened previous studies exploring how nutrition affects brain health, including its role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.