A Mediterranean diet WON'T stave off dementia or boost concentration in old age
No evidence that eating plenty of fruit, veg and oily fish boosts concentration in old age, say French expertsUntil now, theory has been that diet prevents the blood vessels that supply the brain becoming blocked

By
Sophie Borland

PUBLISHED:

17:33 GMT, 25 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:50 GMT, 26 January 2013

A Mediterranean diet does little for the brain and won’t prevent dementia, researchers claim.

French scientists say there is no evidence that eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and oily fish boosts concentration in old age.

Inspired by traditional eating habits in Italy, Spain and Greece, the diet has been shown to prevent heart disease and cancer as well as increase life expectancy.

French researchers say there is no evidence that a Mediterranean diet boosts memory or concentration in old age

French researchers say there is no evidence that a Mediterranean diet boosts memory or concentration in old age

And recently a number of studies have implied it may be just as beneficial for the brain and could stave off Alzheimer’s.

Some scientists believe that because
the diet is low in saturated fat, it prevents the blood vessels that
supply the brain becoming blocked.

But academics from Paris Sorbonne University say there is no evidence for such a link.

The researchers tracked the diets of
3,000 middle-aged adults for more than a decade and divided them into
three groups depending on how ‘Mediterranean’ their diet was.

When the
adults were 65 and over, they took six tests which checked their
concentration and memory.

It has been suggested that the 'good' fats from foods such as oily fish might benefit the brain directly

It has been suggested that the 'good' fats from foods such as oily fish might benefit the brain directly

The results, published in the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found no difference between the scores
of the three groups.

Lead researcher Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot
said: ‘Midlife adherence to a MedDiet was not associated with global
cognitive performance [brain power assessed 13 years later].’

Furthermore the researchers said that recent work by other scientists had also failed to find any link.

Last year, the Foundation for Public
Health in Paris found women over 65 who followed a Mediterranean diet
did not perform any better in memory tests.

However, Professor Nikos Scarmeas,
from the Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, said there was
not yet enough evidence to draw firm conclusions about the diet’s
effect on the brain.