Eat like the Greeks to keep your mind sharp
Researchers have found that the Mediterranean diet can protect against memory loss.
A study found people who eat a Mediterranean-style diet may be less likely to experience declines in their memory and thinking skills.
The diet consists of plant-based foods such as vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, seeds and olives, extra virgin olive oil, fish, with moderate red wine intake.
It also involves a low consumption of processed food, processed carbohydrates, sweets and chocolate and red meat.
As part of the study, researchers followed 27,860 people in 40 countries for an average of around five years.
They were all 55 or older and had diabetes or a history of heart disease, stroke or peripheral artery disease, a common condition in which a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries restricts blood supply to leg muscles.
People who had experienced a recent stroke, congestive heart failure and other serious conditions were not included in the study.
Their thinking and memory skills were tested at the start of the study, after two years and after about five years.
People with the healthiest diets were 24% less likely to have cognitive decline than people with the least healthy diets.
Among the 5,687 people with the healthiest diets around 14% had cognitive decline, compared to about 18% of the 5,459 people with the least healthy diets.
The results were the same when researchers accounted for other factors that could affect the results, such as physical activity, high blood pressure and history of cancer.
The findings were published online by the journal Neurology.