and low calories and carbs.
It includes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, spices, herbs, olive oil along with seafood (twice a week) and dairy, chicken, and eggs in moderate portions.
However, the green Mediterranean diet is yet to bring a comparative phenomenal mark in the nutrition realm. It includes skipping red and processed meat and relying on plants’ sources for nutrients (beyond the normal Mediterranean diet).
Aging and Atrophy
As we age, we tend to lose some brain cells. However, brain/cerebral atrophy (loss of brain cells followed by brain shrinkage) fastens the process, thereby leading to more complications. The green Mediterranean diet may hold the potential to slow down the impact.
Brain atrophy not only disrupts the connections between the neurons (brain cells) but also hampers their communication with each other. Neurodegenerative (brain-damaging) disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and brain injuries (stroke) may result in significant brain atrophy with greater impact.
The study 18-month long randomized control trial evaluated randomly assigned 284 participants (88% men) among the age group, 31 to 82 years (all were employees at the Dimona Nuclear Research Center) to three different diet groups that are:
The participants in the green Mediterranean diet group were given three to four cups of green tea per day and a Mankai duckweed (an aquatic plant) smoothie for dinner, along with a very minimal amount of red and processed meat.
In addition, both the Mediterranean groups were given walnuts to eat. The participants were monitored using a full-brain MRI scan both before and after the study.
Brain Changes and Diet
It was found that the participants in both types of the Mediterranean diet had a significant reduction in age-related brain damages, with prominent slowing of damages among the green diet group.
Moreover, those above the age of 50 had paramount improvement, thereby suggesting that this group is more prone to rapid mental atrophy.
Active Ingredients of Green Diet
The study states that the plant-based dietary sources are rich in polyphenols concentration (with lower amounts of red and processed meat), offering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The study team noted significant improvement in hippocampal-occupancy (HOC to measure the atrophy of hippocampus, memory center) and lateral-ventricle-volume (LVV to measure brain abnormalities) indicators of brain atrophy and predictors of future dementia.
These findings may help explain beneficial links between the green Mediterranean diet and age-related brain changes (neurodegeneration).
“Since brain atrophy is considered to be [unpreventable], our results might suggest a simple, safe, and promising avenue to slow age-related neurodegeneration by adhering to a green-Mediterranean diet. Our findings suggest that it may halt brain aging, as well as other atrophy, as seen in dementia and specifically in Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. Alon Kaplan, a physician at Sheba Medical Center and PhD student at Ben-Gurion University who conducted the trial.