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If you knew changing your diet today could make your brain healthier, would you? Research suggests the Mediterranean diet could be the key.
Dr. Maria Vassilaki, a Mayo Clinic epidemiology researcher, explains how a Mediterranean diet full of fruits and vegetables, fish, healthy oils like olive oil, and less meat and saturated fat appears to delay signs of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in the brain.
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"The changes that we see in our brain and are associated with Alzheimer's disease, one of them is amyloid beta, which is a protein fragment that accumulates in the brain," Dr. Vassilaki says. "We found out that the individuals that follow very close the Mediterranean diet or that they are in the higher consumption for vegetables, they were less likely to have ... a lot of amyloid beta in their brain."
Dr. Vassilaki says that, while more research is needed to figure out why, it appears people who follow the Mediterranean diet show fewer signs of Alzheimer’s developing.
But, since symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t usually appear until later in life, Dr. Vassilaki is hopeful this research suggests that a healthier Mediterranean Diet earlier in life could help delay or prevent the onset of dementia.
"In my opinion we should not wait," she says. "We should start modifying our eating habits."