(STUDY FINDS) -- Usually when someone cheats on their diet, it means they won’t be losing weight any time soon. A new study finds those cheating on the Mediterranean diet won’t be getting its positive effects on the brain either. Researchers from Rush University Medical Center say adding in unhealthy foods common in the Western diet cancels out the ability of a Mediterranean diet to slow down cognitive decline.
“Eating a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruit, fish and whole grains may positively affects a person’s health,” says Puja Agarwal, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in a university release. “But when it is combined with fried food, sweets, refined grains, red meat and processed meat, we observed that the benefits of eating the Mediterranean part of the diet seems to be diminished.”
Although researchers say the Mediterranean diet can improve the health of eaters of any age, older adults also benefit from slower rates of mental decline. The study examined over 5,000 Chicago residents over the age of 65 from 1993 to 2012. Every three years, participants completed cognitive tests to see how their basic thinking and memory skills were faring. The group also reported on how often they ate 144 different foods.
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