Research is accumulating to show protective effects of a Mediterranean-style diet on normal cognitive [mental] decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Mediterranean diet is an eating style that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, olive oil instead of butter, beans and cereal grains, such as wheat and rice. Moderate amounts of fish, dairy and wine are included, while red meat and poultry are limited.

Even after accounting for other factors that might affect brain volume — such as education level, diabetes, high blood pressure or age — better brain measurements were associated with Mediterranean-style eating.