The Mediterranean diet has a reputation for being one of the healthiest eating plans around and new research finds it may be good for our minds as well as our bodies. The diet typically includes a lot of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, some seafood, and plenty of olive oil, with low amounts of dairy products and red meat. Following a Mediterranean diet comes with benefits including a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, lower blood pressure, weight loss, and now we’re finding out it could possibly make us smarter as well.
A new study done by scientists at the University of Illinois and the U.S. Air Force finds that this diet may actually improve cognitive abilities, when it’s combined with plenty of exercise. In a double-blind test, two groups followed an identical, strict workout regimen for three months and during that time, one group took a daily supplement that mimicked the nutritional properties of Mediterranean diet foods, while the others took a placebo.
At the end of the 12 weeks, the group that took the real supplement showed a “significant improvement” in six of eight cognitive tests. And the others who took the placebo only did better in four of eight tests. The results suggest that the Mediterranean diet plus exercise may improve working memory and mental reaction time, as well as other cognitive benefits. Researcher ChrisZwilling says they’re excited by the findings because they show “how simple dietary changes can make a big difference in helping people be as efficient and productive as possible.”
Source: Eat This, Not That