The study involved more than 300 people that were asked by the researchers to follow a strict Mediterranean diet for about four years, while 145 volunteers were asked to eat a low-fat diet.
A Mediterranean diet consists mainly of fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and seafood, with little red meat and dairy products.
155 of the people who were following the Mediterranean diet had to consume one liter of extra virgin olive oil per week, while 147 had to include in their diet 30gr of nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts.
After four years, the scientists compared the cognitive function of the volunteers in each group. The participants’ average age was 67.
According to the study’s results, the cognitive function of those who consumed the Mediterranean diet improved over the period of four years while the study lasted.
The group of people who ate a low-fat diet experienced a decline in their cognitive function.
The new study suggests that in older people, eating a Mediterranean diet that is supplemented with nuts or olive oil may decrease the cognitive decline.
The scientists also found that people who followed the Mediterranean diet and supplemented it with nuts showed improved memory abilities, as compared to the group who ate a low-fat diet.
Those who supplemented their Mediterranean diet with olive oil experienced significant improvement in various cognitive functions, such as memory, attention and reasoning.
According to the researchers, the beneficial health effects of the Mediterranean diet could be attributed to the fact the both olive oil and most nuts are rich in phenolic compounds.
This compound may help the brain against neurodegeneration, researchers said.
Dr. Raphael Kellman, who was not one of the researchers involved in the study, said that omega fats found in olive oil and nuts are very important because they help improve the cell membranes, including the brain cells.
When people consume this type of oils and fats they help improve the brain function, which can help them lower the risk of various neurodegenerative conditions.
The new study suggests that in order to stay healthy we need to consume healthy fats because not all fat has the same properties.
The unhealthy type of fat is the saturated fat, which is known to affect the cell membranes.
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