The fountain of youth may bubble with extra virgin olive oil. Eating an EVOO-fueled Mediterranean diet may prevent your brain from shrinking, helping preserve a more youthful noggin, according to recent research.
Columbia University researchers analyzed survey results from 674 cognitively healthy elderly people who recorded information about their eating habits. Then, they reviewed MRI scans of their brains. Compared to the people who didn’t regularly follow many aspects of the Mediterranean diet, the subjects who ate this way more often had larger total brain volumes, as well as more gray and white matter. The difference in brain volume between the people who followed a Mediterranean diet and those who didn’t was similar to the effect of five years of aging, the researchers concluded in the journal Neurology.
“These results are exciting, as they raise the possibility that people may potentially prevent brain shrinking and the effects of aging on the brain simply by following a healthy diet,” lead author Yian Gu of Columbia University told The Guardian.
Gu and co-authors did caution that the results do not prove conclusively that the Mediterranean diet prevents brain shrinkage and that it is merely an association.
The study is the latest to back the bennies of eating the diet. A study published in the journal Microvascular Research last year suggested that the health benefits of switching to a Mediterranean-style diet and upping the amount of time spent exercising for a period of just eight weeks can still be seen a year after stopping the regime.