Think before taking that next bite

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, and legumes with limited intakes of dairy, meat and saturated fats. The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are well known from reducing heart disease and diabetes, to improving cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight control. A new study may add to the growing list of benefits to include diseases of the brain, specifically dementia (1, 2). In a study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology in April, researchers followed 712 participants for approximately six years, placing them into three groups based on how closely they adhered to the Mediterranean diet. At the study’s end, each participant underwent an MRI to detect the number of infarcts, areas of the brain with obstructions in the flow of blood. Compared to those who only moderately followed the diet, participants who strictly followed the Mediterranean diet had a 36 percent decreased risk of having an infarct. Although obstructions in blood flow to the brain may not have resulted in outward symptoms, the brain scan could detect the damage from these obstructions or clots, which are known to play a role in future cognitive decline and dementia.

The Zone Diet is the evolution of the Mediterranean diet, featuring low-fat protein, lots of non-starchy, fibrous vegetables, fruit and monounsaturated fat. The difference is the Zone Diet minimizes the consumption of grains.

References
1) Mediterranean diet may help prevent dementia, study says. Available at:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/08/mediterranean.diet.brain/index.html. Accessed: 2/9/2010.
2) Mediterranean Diet May Be Key To Avoiding Stroke, Dementia. Available at:
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AlzheimersNews/mediterranean-diet-hold-key-avoiding-stroke-dementia/story?id=9780494. Accessed: 2/9/2010.

Nothing contained in this blog is intended to be instructional for medial diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult your personal physician immediately.

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About Dr. Barry Sears

Dr. Barry Sears is a leading authority on the impact of the diet on hormonal response, genetic expression, and inflammation. A former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Sears has dedicated his research efforts over the past 30 years to the study of lipids. He has published more than 30 scientific articles and holds 13 U.S. patents in the areas of intravenous drug delivery systems and hormonal regulation for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. He has also written 13 books, including the New York Times #1 best-seller "The Zone". These books have sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. and have been translated into 22 different languages.

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