The Mediterranean diet has long been associated with good health. And once again, science has backed up that fact.
A new study, recently published in the BMJ Journal, found that eating within the guidelines of the Mediterranean diet for just one year significantly altered the microbiome of elderly people, which resulted in improved brain function.
Researchers profiled the gut microbiome of 612 elderly people aged 65 to 79 from Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands.
They then split the participants and placed 323 of them on the Mediterranean diet and asked the remaining subjects to continue their regular eating habits.
At the end of 12 months, participants who followed the Mediterranean diet saw positive changes in their digestive system and potentially harmful inflammatory markers were reduced.
The researchers also discovered that there was a substantial growth of good bacteria linked to improved brain function and memory. It also seemed to slow the signs of frailty, with improved walking speed and hand strength.
According to the study, the nationality, age and weight of the participants didn’t seem to influence the results at all.
The Mediterranean diet
This way of eating dates back to the 1960s and is modeled off those living in countries like Greece and Italy.
According to Healthline, numerous studies have found that eating the Mediterranean way can reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease and assist with weight loss.
When it comes to food, it’s pretty simple. The basic principles include eating lots of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, wholegrains, herbs, spices, seafood and of course, extra virgin olive oil.
Eggs, dairy and poultry should be eaten in moderation and only eat red meat every now and then. Processed foods, refined grains, processed meats and added sugar are totally shunned in the Mediterranean diet.
What role does the microbiome play?
The microbiome refers to the trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic organisms that reside in your large intestine.
These tiny microorganisms are super important as they help control your immune system, brain health and central nervous system.
The microbiome is constantly in flux throughout your lifetime but as you age, compositional changes can occur.
So, the positive results of this study seem to indicate that eating the Mediterranean way can encourage new growth of microorganisms that aren’t important for brain health.
Who’s up for finally buying a place on a Greek Island?