Green Mediterranean diet appears to slow brain atrophy, study shows

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Green Mediterranean diet appears to slow brain atrophy, study shows

Washington US January 15 ANI A new study shows that a green Mediterranean diet, high in polyphenols and low in red and processed meat, seems to slow age-related brain atrophy.

The effect of diet on age-related brain atrophy is largely unproven. Participants were divided into three groups according to diet, and whole-brain MRI measurements were taken before and after the trial.

HOC and lateral ventricle volume LVV were measured as indicators of brain atrophy and predictors of future dementia. Brain MRI data was quantified and segmented using NeuroQuant, an FDA Food and Drug Administration authorized fully automated tool.

Two hundred eighty-four men and women 88 per cent of men aged 31 82 were randomly divided into three groups: a healthy dietary guidelines group, a Mediterranean diet group and a green Mediterranean diet.

The participants were further provided with walnuts rich in polyphenols in the Mediterranean diet group. In the green-mediterranean group, participants were provided high polyphenol green components: 3 -- 4 daily cups of green tea and a daily green shake of Mankai duckweed, as a substitute for dinner, with minimal consumption of red and processed meat. All three groups participated in physical activity programs based on aerobic exercise, including free gym memberships.

The trial was conducted by Dr Alon Kaplan and Professor Iris Shai, professor at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and adjunct professor at Harvard University, along with several international teams of brain experts.

The researchers were surprised to find dramatic changes in MRI-related brain atrophy within 18 -- 24 months, whereas the rate of brain atrophy markers i.e. The hippocampal occupancy decline and lateral ventricle volume expansion were significantly accelerated from the age of 50 years and up.

The researchers found a significant attenuation in brain atrophy over the 18 months in those who adhered to both Mediterranean diets, with greater magnitude in the green-MED group, specifically among participants over age 50. The researchers found that an improvement in insulin sensitivity was independently associated with attenuated brain atrophy.

Greater Mankai, green tea, and walnuts consumption and less red and processed meat consumption were associated with a lower hippocampal occupancy decline.

Participants were initially chosen based on abdominal girth size or dyslipidemia. They were all employees at the Israel Nuclear Research Centre in Dimona, where they did not leave the premises during the workday, and lunch provided was monitored.

The beneficial association between the green Mediterranean diet and age-related neurodegeneration is partially explained by the abundance of polyphenols in plant-based food sources that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory metabolites. Polyphenols can reduce neuroinflammation and promote cell proliferation and adult-onset neurogenesis in the hippocampus, according to Prof. Shai, the lead author.