Mediterranean Diet + Nuts = Prevention of Age-related Cognitive Decline

Posted 06/16/2015 | By HealthCorps

This health research alert came to us from our partners, the California Walnut Board.  It highlights how certain dietary choices can improve your health or prevent disease.  In this case, eating a diet that follows the Mediterranean-style philosophy of eating, including nuts like walnuts, can impact brain health.


Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Cinta Valls-Pedret; Aleix Sala-Vila, DPharm; Mercè Serra-Mir;
Dolores Corella; Rafael de la Torre; Miguel Ángel; Martínez-González; Elena H. Martínez-Lapiscina; Montserrat Fitó; Ana Pérez-Heras; Jordi Salas-Salvadó, MD; Ramon Estruch; Emilio Rios, MD, PhD.


Background: Oxidative stress and vascular impairment are believed to mediate in part age-related cognitive decline, a strong risk factor for development of dementia. Epidemiological studies suggest that a Mediterranean Diet, an antioxidant-rich cardioprotective dietary pattern, delays cognitive decline, but clinical trial evidence is lacking.

Objective: To investigate whether a Mediterranean diet supplemented with antioxidant-rich foods influences cognitive function compared to a control diet.

Design: Randomized, parallel-group, controlled trial. Barcelona, Spain. Cognitively healthy volunteers (n=447, 52% women, mean age 66.9 years) at high cardiovascular risk enrolled into the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial underwent neuropsychological assessment at inclusion and were offered retest at the end of the study.

Method: Participants were randomly assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (olive oil) (1 liter/week), a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts (30 g/day), or control diet (advice to reduce dietary fat).

Conclusion: In an older population a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts was associated with improved cognitive function.

Check out the California Walnuts Salad Recipes for some delicious for some delicious, “what’s for dinner” recipes.

-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach

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