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Is adherence to a Mediterranean diet associated with cognitive function and dementia?

Relationships between diet and physical health are well recognized as are the protective effects of the Mediterranean diet on the risk of various chronic diseases and longevity.  Dietary patterns, as opposed to individual nutrients or foods, are an emerging area of research in recent years. It is believed that dietary patterns can reflect dietary behaviours of individuals more spherically, as they combine foods which in turn may have synergistic or antagonistic effects on health.

The traditional Mediterranean diet refers to an eating behaviour characterised by 1) high intake of fruits, 2) vegetables, 3) cereals and 4) legumes, 5) low consumption of saturated fats with olive oil as the main source of fat, 6) moderate consumption of fish, 7) low to moderate intake of dairy products (in the form of yogurt and cheese), 8) low consumption of red meat and meat products and 9) moderate amount of alcohol , especially wine, usually consumed during meals. Such a multi-nutrient approach includes most of the components studied in relation to cognitive decline and incident dementia. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that adherence to a Mediterranean diet may be protective against cognitive decline and dementia, while it may also prove useful in the management of malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies often observed in dementia patients and elderly people.

The purpose of this systematic review is to investigate and determine the potential association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and cognitive function and dementia.


Ilianna Lourida
David Llewellyn
Jo Thompson Coon


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