New Study - Mediterranean Diet Impacts Brain Size


Most of us know the Mediterranean diet is good for our waist size, but what about brain size?  A study in the journal Neurology showed that people who closely followed a Mediterranean diet were able to maintain a larger brain size than those that did not.

562 people in Scotland, around 70 years old were given an MRI brain scan at the beginning of the study, and then 3 years later.  Those that did not closely follow the Mediterranean diet had a decrease in brain volume, compared to those who closely followed the diet and maintained a higher total brain volume.

Study author Michelle Luciano, PhD, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland said,

“As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells which can affect learning and memory. This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health.”

Greece is one of the countries where people have always eaten a Mediterranean Diet, which includes large amounts of fruit, vegetables, olive oil, beans and cereal grains such as wheat and rice, with moderate amounts of fish, dairy and wine, and limited red meat and poultry. 

Dr. David Knopman, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota who was not involved in the study, said

“A bigger brain is better for you because it makes a person more resistant to the effects of brain diseases.... People who have bigger brains in general can tolerate more brain pathology, more brain disease, than those who have smaller brains. So the reduced loss in the people who adhered to the Mediterranean diet in general would be expected to protect them from developing dementia.”

A simple way to start eating a Mediterranean diet is to eat more salads. Try this one.