For the seventh year in a row, the plant-based diet has topped the U.S. News & World Report list of best diets for overall health and weight loss. The Mediterranean diet moves up to the top spot in the plant-based category just as new research points to cognitive benefits of the popular diet.
According to the new research published in the journal Neurology, a diet resembling Mediterranean style of eating—predominantly fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil, whole grains, and minimal animal products—shows an ability to reduce the incidence of shrinking brain mass.
While everyone experiences a decrease in brain mass over time, the study noted significantly more brain mass in people over the age of 70 who consumed a Mediterranean diet compared to those who did not eat as healthily.
“Those who ate more fruits, vegetables, olive oil and the like, and less fried food, red meat and cheese had less brain shrinkage,” reports NBC News. “On average, their brains shrank at about half the rate that would normally be expected over three years for people this age.”
Maintaining brain mass into later life is critical in fighting off brain diseases and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Plant-based diets are good for the environment, your heart, your weight and your overall health,” U.S. News & World Report noted on its website.
Plant-based diets, also known as vegan or vegetarian diets, have been gaining popularity in recent years with the explosion of plant-based meats, milks, and cheese products now widely available.
Other plant-based diets that made the U.S. News & World Report list include the Flexitarian diet, Dr. Dean Ornish’s diet, traditional Asian diets, Dr. Weil’s diet, Macrobiotics, and the Engine 2 Diet.
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