Modified Plant-Based Mediterranean Diet Can Slow Brain Aging, Study Shows 

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The Mediterranean diet has gained significant attention due to its numerous health benefits. A recent study by researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev demonstrated that this diet could slow down brain aging.

Body weight reduction enhances brain age

The 18-month clinical trial involving 300 participants revealed that even a one percent reduction in body weight resulted in the participants’ brain age appearing almost nine months younger compared to their expected brain age. This reduction in brain aging aligned with other biological indicators like enzymes and lower liver fat.

The study investigated the effects of obesity on brain aging and cognitive decline. Researchers utilized brain scans to determine individuals’ “brain age” and tracked the impact of lifestyle factors on brain aging over a short period. The study involved 102 obese individuals who underwent brain scans before and after an 18-month Mediterranean diet program.

Additionally, researchers investigated the impact of obesity on various aspects, including liver health, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Higher levels of enzymes and liver fat have previously been associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, making them important indicators to consider in such research.

According to Professor Galia Avidan from the Department of Psychology at the university, even a modest weight loss of 1% resulted in improved brain health, leading to a reduction in brain age equivalent to nine months.

Polyphenols promote brain health

Researchers conducted a unique trial introducing the green-Mediterranean diet, a modified version of the traditional Mediterranean diet that highlights the importance of polyphenols found in plant-based foods. The diet includes 28 grams of walnuts, 3-4 cups of green tea, and a cup of a green shake made from Wolffia-globosa (Mankai), a plant rich in iron, protein, B12, and various polyphenols.

The study aims to contribute to existing evidence supporting the role of a healthy diet in promoting brain health and preventing cognitive decline, including diseases like Alzheimer’s. Dr Gidon Levakov, a Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences former graduate, emphasizes the significance of a healthy lifestyle in preserving brain health. The study underscores the importance of reducing the intake of processed food and beverages.

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