March into Wellness!

Posted Mar 22, 2018

Mediterranean Diet and Exercise to Boost Brain Health

One of the most motivating ways to follow a healthy nutritional regime and work out regularly, is knowing the many mental and physical benefits that healthy lifestyle choices can bring. Recent research has shown that diet is important throughout our lives when it comes to promoting better brain health; the study, published in the journal Neurology, showed the important link between what we eat, and the size of our brain volume.

The Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is often recommended by doctors and health professionals as a way to battle obesity and promote greater heart health. Comprising lean protein sources, healthy fats such as cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, and seasonal fruits and vegetables, it has been found in many studies to boost health by battling inflammation and helping control blood sugar.

There are many related diets which in essence follow the same principle. Military-style diets, which are essentially low cal versions of the Mediterranean diet, for instance, also recommend lean proteins, oils such as flaxseed or olive oil, and nuts. Mediterranean and military style diets have substitutions as well, which vegans and those with specific allergies can easily incorporate into their meals.

The Mediterranean Diet and Brain Health

The Neurology study, mentioned above, found that older people who follow a Mediterranean diet retained more brain volume over a three-year period, than those who did not follow the diet as seriously. Lead researchers, Dr. Michelle Luciano noted, “As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells which can affect learning and memory. This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health.”

Exercise Also Boosts Brain Health

Another study published recently by scientists at NICM. Western University Sydney, has found that aerobic exercise (running, cycling, walking, treadmill running etc.) affects our brain in positive ways, by improving memory function and reducing brain shrinkage. Overall, the results showed that exercise did not affect the total hippocampal volume, but it did significantly increase the size of the left region of the hippocampus in human beings. The hippocampus is critical for memory and other important brain functions.

Lead author. Dr. Joseph Firth, said, “Our data showed that, rather than actually increasing the size of the hippocampus per se, the main ‘brain benefits’ are due to aerobic exercise slowing down the deterioration in brain size. In other words, exercise can be seen as a maintenance program for the brain.”

To boost your brain health, ensure you follow a healthy diet that is rich in antioxidant fruits and vegetables, choose the right protein sources and snacks, and don’t skimp on healthy fats. Staying active is equally important, so make sure to tackle health from an integrated perspective.

To your health, wellness and overall wealth!

Article written and contributed by Jane Sandwood

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