What’s not to love about an eating plan that includes red wine as a food group? 😊
Colin Rose is a Senior Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is the Founder and Director of Research and Innovation of Uni-Vite Healthcare and author of a recent book: Delay Ageing: Healthy to 100, where he reveals how to slow ageing and, therefore, help prevent later-life illness.
We have long extolled the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and indeed the MIND Diet, based on it.
Now comes evidence that following a Mediterranean or MIND diet may delay adverse changes in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s Disease by up to 18 years of ageing!
2023 study shows significant brain benefits from Med/MIND Diet
Lead author of this 2023 study, Dr Agarwal at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said that even partial adherence to the diet had significant benefits:
“These results are exciting. Improvement in people’s diets in just one area – such as eating more than six servings of green leafy vegetables per week, or not eating fried foods – was associated with fewer amyloid plaques in the brain similar to being about 4 years younger.”
Amyloid plaques are toxic protein clumps that interfere with how brain cells communicate – and characterise Alzheimer’s. The researchers examined how diet was linked to amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain – tangles disrupt how protective nutrients are transported in the brain.
For the study, published in the journal Neurology Link to reference researchers examined the brains of 581 deceased people.
“When we examined the participants’ brains after autopsy, we found plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s Disease and also older people with normal cognition.
“But those who followed the diets more closely had less plaques and tangles.”
Features of the Mediterranean and MIND Diets
The Mediterranean Diet, of course, features mostly fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, grains, olive oil, and fish. It limits red meat and dairy, but does include moderate intake of wine – ideally red wine.
The MIND diet, a composite food plan combining the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, is a close variation of the Mediterranean plan that focuses on whole grains, leafy greens and other vegetables, berries, beans, nuts, lean meats, fish, poultry and olive oil.
The MIND diet limits cheese, butter, fried foods and sweets and has been shown in other studies to reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 53%.
Mediterranean diet linked to plaque amounts similar to brains 18 years younger
The NutriShield supplement is largely based on boosting your intake of key components from Mediterranean, MIND and DASH diets.
In the Neurology study, researchers found that the more leafy-green vegetables someone ate, the fewer signs of Alzheimer’s disease were found in the brain.
People who strictly followed the Mediterranean diet had plaque and tangle amounts in their brains similar to being 18 years younger than people in the study who had the least healthy eating patterns.
The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn conducted a similar analysis. It revealed that seniors who consumed a Mediterranean diet were less likely to display brain shrinkage and develop high levels of the beta amyloid proteins that cause dysfunction in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s patients. Link to reference
High dose B vitamins + Omega 3 prevents neurodegeneration
Oxford University Research
A research project at Oxford University called OPTIMA has shown that raised blood concentrations of total homocysteine and low to normal concentrations of B vitamins (folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6) are risk factors for both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Link to reference
Consequently, they set up a two-year randomised controlled trial, involving adults aged 70+ with Mild Cognitive Impairment.
It showed significant benefits from high-dose supplementation with Vitamins B6, B12 and folate in adults aged 70+ with Mild Cognitive Impairment.
People supplementing with B vitamins AND Omega 3 showed reduced physical brain shrinkage and slower cognitive decline. The combination was essential to the result. Said Professor David Smith, lead author:
“The results were more strikingly positive than we could have dreamt.”
NutriShield Premium includes high dose B vitamins and Omega 3 – and adds betaine, also known to reduce homocysteine levels.
Going further towards a younger brain – restoring energy
Whilst the impact of the Mediterranean-type diet on healthy brain ageing isn’t new, the New Scientist on 11th March 2023 went further. Under the heading “How to have a younger brain”, it reported on an increasing consensus among brain researchers that neurodegeneration is driven by loss of energy in brain cells due to malfunctioning mitochondria.
The brain – despite only being 3% of your body weight – uses up some 20% of your energy. So, the level of metabolism in the brain is exceptionally high. Which means that brain cells produce proportionately more oxidative waste (free radicals) than other cells. It is an inevitable by-product of this high revving metabolism.
These free radicals damage mitochondria, which then produce less cellular energy.
So – the New Scientist article asks – could we prolong healthy brain function by rejuvenating the mitochondria in our brain cells?
Like any power generator, mitochondria need fuel. This fuel is glucose, derived from the food you eat. Through a (very!) complicated process, glucose is transformed into the energy molecule, ATP.
That complicated process ultimately depends upon a co-enzyme called NAD+. But NAD+ declines with age.
So, could rejuvenating mitochondria, by reducing oxidative damage and boosting cellular energy by activating NAD+, further help prevent age-related brain deterioration?
It looks very likely. And that’s one aim of our new supplement NR+A – Nicotinamide Riboside and Apigenin.
Thanks for reading
I spend my time researching the new science of healthy, successful ageing. And how to extend health span rather than just lifespan.
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NR+A Nicotinamide Riboside + Apigenin
NR+A helps to restore energy in your cells to power a healthier you.
NutriShield Premium Health Supplement
NutriShield Premium was originally designed by Dr Paul Clayton, former Chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine.
It contains 6 different capsules, combining a total of 43 powerful nutrients to support healthy ageing and has been updated and improved every year since 2002 based on the newest longevity research.
Delay Ageing book explains the ageing process and how you can postpone it
Medical researchers agree that if you slow ageing, you also delay the onset of age-related disease. And we know that it’s not just nutrition. Sleep, reducing stress and cardio and strength exercise are also essential to longevity and ageing well.
My book Delay Ageing: Healthy to 100, published in 2020, explains the latest ageing science in an accessible way.
It’s been rated 5-star and I am sure you will get a lot of benefit from it, as so many have already.
Click here to go to the publisher's website where you can buy the printed book or Kindle version.
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