Adding olive oil or nuts to our Mediterranean diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, cereals and low in red meat) can help sharpen your mind.
Spanish researchers found that those who followed a diet of this style had notable improvements when it came to memorizing, than those who simply followed a low-calorie diet.
Researcher Emilio Ros from the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona concludes that “mental illnesses associated with aging can be delayed with a diet rich in antioxidants, such as olive oil and walnuts.” The mean age of the study participants was 67 and still results were seen. That is why “it is never too late to change your diet and improve your brain.”
Ok, você pode pensar que vamos varrer para casa. Mas a verdade é que o diretor do Centro de Saúde Cognitiva do Hospital Mont Sinai de Nova York (Dr. Sam Gandy), afirma que “os efeitos positivos no coração e no cérebro de comer menos carne vermelha e mais frango, peixe e vegetais estão tão comprovados que não deixo de recomendar a dieta mediterrânea aos meus pacientes ”.
Both olive oil and walnuts have been associated with mental benefits in other studies such as Dr. Ros’s, which collected data on nearly 450 seniors between 2003 and 2009. The mean age was also 67 years, But this time all the participants were at high risk for heart disease but none associated with the brain or memory.
The participants were randomly selected to add 1 liter of extra virgin olive oil per week to their Mediterranean diet, or to add 30 grams a day of a mixture of walnuts and almonds to this diet instead of the oil. The rest of the participants were limited to following a low-fat diet.
Para verificar os efeitos, foram realizados testes de memória e atenção em 350 dos sujeitos investigados. Os participantes seguiram a dieta por uma média de 4 anos. No grupo que seguiu a dieta mediterrânea, foram observadas melhorias no raciocínio e na memória.
Samantha Heller, a nutritionist at New York University, explains that the good fats in foods like walnuts or extra virgin olive oil play a crucial role in brain function and overall health. And it is that these foods protect the nerve cells of our brain. Each nerve cell in the brain is covered by a thin layer of fat called the myelin layer. It is responsible for protecting the structure and favoring the interaction between neurons.
The brain receives that fat from what we eat, so the better we eat, the more protected our cells will be.
And this sure sounds familiar. Oleic acid is one of the main components of myelin. And you can find it in olive oil, walnuts, almonds, peanuts or avocado.
Omega-3 fatty acid also plays an important role (it sounds familiar to you, doesn’t it?) That we find in fish and soy derivatives. Omega-3 has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Concluindo: se o que temos em casa é o que há de melhor, esqueça as dietas estranhas e as invenções de gente famosa e coma um peixe assado.