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TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - FEBRUARY 21: A bowl of hummous is served with olive oil, falafel balls and sprinkled with chopped parsley alongside fresh-baked pita bread, olives, a fresh onion, red chili paste and chili and lemon juice February 21, 2006 in a restaurant in Tel Aviv. Chick peas, the basis of both falafel and hummous, and olive oil are staple foods in many Mediterranean countries. The Mediterranean diet, a term used to broadly describe the eating habits of the people of the region, is widely believed to be responsible for the low rates of chronic heart disease in the populations of the 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. (Photo Illustration by David Silverman/Getty Images)

We’ve heard the Mediterranean diet is good for the heart and longevity, but new research gives us another reason to try it – it may protect against memory loss and dementia, too. A new study from Germany suggests that eating this way – with lots of fish, legumes, vegetables and olive oil – may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers analyzed brain scans of more than 500 older adults and found that those who followed a Mediterranean diet were less likely to show brain shrinkage and high levels of the abnormal proteins that have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Lead study author Tommaso Ballarini explains that eating “a Mediterranean-like diet could help slow down Alzheimer’s disease pathology and prevent cognitive decline.”

What the study doesn’t explain? Exactly how eating a diet like this affects brain health and whether the diet is helping the brain or if it’s just a marker for an overall healthy lifestyle. But even if this diet doesn’t preserve brain function, it’s been shown to be good for you in other ways. Ballarini sums it up by saying, “This study adds to the body of evidence concerning the protective effects of a healthy lifestyle on brain health and gives hopes for preventing dementia.”

If this has got you in the mood for Mediterranean food like it’s got me, check out some of my favorite places in Charlotte:

  • YAFO
  • CAVA

Read the full article here.