Most people know that diet impacts heart health, but fewer people realize that the brain is also affected by what you eat. As a part of your physical body, your brain relies on the food you eat to stay healthy, just as your heart does.

Adopt a Mediterranean-Style Diet

On a broad scale, Registered Dietician Leslie Beck recommends, “one of the best things people can do to keep their brains healthy is to adopt a Mediterranean-style diet.” Studies have shown that people who follow a Mediterranean-style diet closely experience slower cognitive decline as they age, reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and reduced risk of any MCI progressing into Alzheimer’s disease.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and fish. Red meat is eaten only a few times a month. The major source of fat is olive oil. Beck explains the benefits of this type of diet, “It’s low in saturated fat, and includes plenty of anti-inflammatory foods and lots of antioxidants as well.”

It is not clear exactly why following a Mediterranean diet may protect brain function, but researchers think that it may work by improving cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as overall blood vessel health, all of which are factors that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.