Mediterranean diet extends life of Alzheimer's patients

September 21, 2007 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News

Mediterranean diet extends life of Alzheimer's patients

Benefits of the Mediterranean diet include lower risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Now American researchers are adding Alzheimer's disease to the list.

In the study, 192 adults with diagnosed Alzheimer's disease were tracked for over 4 years to see if their disease progression was affected by how closely they followed the Mediterranean style of eating.

Those with the highest adherence to the Mediterranean diet were found to have a 73 percent lower risk of death from Alzheimer's. Following the Mediterranean diet also slowed cognitive decline, improved the quality of life and extended life by an average of 4 years.

These results compliment the findings of a 2006 study which found that the Mediterranean diet may protect against Alzheimer's disease. According to the Alzheimer Society, roughly 290,000 Canadians over 65 have Alzheimer's disease.

The Mediterranean diet originates from the Greek Island of Crete and other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. In the 1960s, it was discovered that people in this region had surprisingly low levels of chronic disease.

Researchers attributed their outstanding health to a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and whole-grain cereals. In the Mediterranean diet, the primary source of fat is unsaturated, mainly from olive oil. Meat and dairy products are replaced with fish, legumes and nuts to increase the intake of healthy fats. Wine is also consumed in moderation and always with meals.

To adopt a Mediterranean style of eating, replace one serving a red meat per day with fish or legumes and increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.