A new study set to be presented to the American Academy of Neurology found that individuals who ate a Mediterranean-like diet were less likely to have areas of dead brain tissue, called infarcts, which may lead to thinking problems and could eventually increase the need for memory care.
The researchers conducted brain scans of 712 people from New York and divided them into three separate groups based on how much their daily dietary intake resembled the Mediterranean diet.
They conducted brain scans again six years later and compared the results.
In this study, not eating a Mediterranean-like diet had about the same effect on the brain as having high blood pressure," said study author Nikolaos Scarmeas.
To reap the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, active living seniors should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish and heart-healthy fats like olive oil. The diet also typically avoids dairy products and large amounts of meat.
According to Business Week, other studies have found that in addition to raising a person's chances of requiring Alzheimer's care, brain infarcts increase a person's likelihood of developing depression, cancer and heart disease.