Thank the olive oil or the nuts, but something about the Mediterranean diet could help older brains to act young again.

In a new study, published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, researchers reported brain-boosting findings from the diet. The results showed that the Mediterranean diet was significantly better than a low-fat diet in preserving brain function. The researchers, from the University of Navarra in Spain, studied 522 men and women between the ages of 55 and 80 who did not have heart disease, but were at a higher risk of having circulation-based events like a stroke because of diabetes or a combination of risk factors such as high blood pressure, a family history of stroke, or being overweight.

After 6.5 years, cognitive function tests showed that on average, those consuming either version of the Mediterranean diet scored significantly higher than the low-fat dieters.

The Mediterranean diet also can contribute to a lower risk of heart attacks, stroke, childhood asthma and even cancer. In fact, in a recent study, researchers assessed about 200 traditional Greek Mediterranean  foods and reported that taken together, the foods could make 1,024 relevant health claims.

And in May, a team of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Athens, Greece found that people around age 64 who primarily ate a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of memory loss.

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