Mediterranean Diet Associated with Better Memory and Attention

mediterranean diet dinnerA study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that seniors had better memory and attention if they followed the Mediterranean Diet. Many seniors struggle with memory and attention impairment. Research is finding that what you put in your mouth strongly impacts brain functioning. A large body of research shows that certain types of diets have better cognitive outcomes than others.

At Natural Eye Care, we recommend the Mediterranean Diet. Saying the word “diet” does not necessarily imply losing weight. Rather, this style of eating is followed by a population living on the shores of the Mediterranean Ocean, such as Northern Italians. These eating habits have been shown scientifically to protect vision and the entire body from disease.

The 2017 study of almost 6,000 seniors in a community looked at diet versus cognitive functioning.1 The researchers scored their food and drink intake against the Mediterranean Diet and the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH diet Intervention for Neurodegeneration Delay). Those with the highest adherence to either diet had the highest cognitive test scores. Specifically, the people who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely had 35% lower risk of scoring poorly on cognitive tests. Even those eating a moderately close diet had 15% lower risk of doing poorly on cognitive tests. The MIND diet gave comparable results. Therefore, memory and attention in seniors are better if they eat a neuro-protective diet.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet is similar to the 2015 USDA food pyramid. However, the Mediterranean diet has more fish and seafood. Instead of general “plant oils,” it calls specifically for olive oil. This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, potatoes, beans, fish, nuts, and olive oil. Rarely or never would you eat junk food, red meat, processed or fast food, or chicken. Learn more about the Mediterranean Diet and our variation, the Vision Diet.

  1. McEvoy, C. T., Guyer, H., Langa, K. M. and Yaffe, K. (2017), Neuroprotective Diets Are Associated with Better Cognitive Function: The Health and Retirement Study. J Am Geriatr Soc, 65: 1857–1862. doi:10.1111/jgs.14922