vegetablesFollowing a Mediterranean Diet -- a diet comprised of dark green, leafy vegetables, other vegetables (like tomatoes), fruits, poultry, fish and nuts -- has been linked to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to an ABCNews article reporting on findings from a new study conducted by Columbia University.

The study, led by Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas and a number of colleagues, examined the dietary patterns of 2,148 individuals, age 65 and older, who did not have dementia at the time the study was initiated. Over a period of four years, the participants who were following a Mediterraean-style diet were 38% less likely to develop Alzheimer's. The study provides only correlational data and does not indicate a causal relationship.

This latest study adds to findings from other research that link diet and Alzheimer's disease. Commenting to ABCNews, Dr. Samuel Gandy of Mount Sinai School of Medicine notes that in other research with similar findings, the diets studied were all heart-healthy. The fact that heart disease is linked to Alzheimer's disease could explain the connection.

Nonetheless, following a heart-healthy diet could certainly improve your overall health and possibly delay cognitive decline as you age.

Here are a few tips for making your diet more heart-healthy:

  • Reduce fats and cholesterols
  • Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Choose whole grains and high fiber when possible
  • Reduce sodium intake -- try flavoring foods with sea salt or spices
  • Avoid sugary foods, like snack cakes and soda
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