The Mediterranean Diet Can Improve Memory

The food of the Mediterranean diet, such as those that contain omega-3 and antioxidants, have a beneficial effect on cognitive health. In this article, discover what the research says.
The Mediterranean Diet Can Improve Memory

Last update: 25 September, 2021

The Mediterranean diet has important health benefits. One of them is its ability to improve memory. One of the main characteristics of this diet, based on the consumption of fresh products, is that it’s rich in high-quality nutrients.

In addition to being cardioprotective, the Mediterranean diet can also protect the body against cognitive impairment. Thus, increasing your intake of certain foods can help ensure strong brain health. What does the evidence say?

Fatty acids to improve memory

The best foods for the brain are fatty acids, especially unsaturated ones. For this reason, experts believe that the Mediterranean diet improves memory. These nutrients play a role in brain formation and development. In addition, they stimulate brain function and can even reduce brain swelling.

Foods such as the following contain them:

  • Vegetable oils, especially extra virgin olive oil
  • Oily fish
  • Shellfish
  • Nuts and seeds

A study that was published in the journal Life Sciences states that the regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids helps improve memory. It also proposes that these nutrients perform antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, which could prevent hippocampus alterations.

Foods from the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is made up of many foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids. Experts believe that their consumption helps to protect brain health.

To know more, you should read: Omega-3-Rich Fish That You Should Start Eating

The antioxidants in the Mediterranean diet contribute to memory

Antioxidants are other essential nutrients that can help preserve or improve cognitive health. The Mediterranean diet is rich in these substances, especially in the vegetables that make it up.

To include flavonoids such as anthocyanins or curcumin in your daily diet, you should consume red vegetables and spices.

As an article published in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research states, the regular consumption of these nutrients can improve memory in adults.

As the Mediterranean diet contains many plant-based foods, it’s rich in antioxidants that help improve memory. Once the body absorbs them, they mitigate the negative effects of free radicals, improve cognitive performance, and reduce the risk of developing other types of complex diseases.

This article may also interest you: What Are Omega Fatty Acids 3, 6, and 9?

Beware of wine in the Mediterranean diet

Despite this diet’s multiple benefits, you must be very careful with one of its components. Despite the fact that experts used to believe that drinking a glass of wine a day improves cardiovascular health, this myth is now debunked.

Alcohol consumption isn’t advisable. This is because drinking alcohol has a negative impact on cognitive performance, which affects short-term and long-term memory.

Although some old scientific articles state that wine contains antioxidants, its tannin content is significantly lower than the tannin content of grapes. In addition, alcohol itself reduces their absorption and causes intestinal problems.

The latest studies state that the consumption of this drink has no protective effects on the risk of developing heart disease.

A person pouring a glass of wine.
Experts recommend against the consumption of alcohol, including wine.

The Mediterranean diet can improve memory

A varied diet that prioritizes the consumption of fresh foods over processed foods can improve memory. The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables and high-quality fats. These nutrients are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which is why they have a positive impact on cognitive performance.

In addition, all these substances can help reduce the risk of developing complex diseases in the medium and long term. For this reason, experts recommend regularly eating plant-based products, as well as fish and spices.

We mentioned the negative aspects of wine, and we highly recommend you to drink more water instead. Using spices to season your food is important, as it’s a great added value to your diet. Most of these ingredients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help boost memory.

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  • Alzoubi KH., Mayyas F., Abu Zamzam HI., Omega 3 fatty acids protects against chronic sleep deprivation induced memory impairment. Life Sci, 2019. 227: 1-7.
  • Summers WK., Martin RL., Liu Y., Peña B., Marsh GM., Complex antioxidants in a randomized singel blinded study of memory in seniors. Aging Clin Exp Res, 2018. 30 (4): 395-405.
  • Aridi YS, Walker JL, Wright ORL. The Association between the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern and Cognitive Health: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(7):674. Published 2017 Jun 28. doi:10.3390/nu9070674
  • Féart C, Samieri C, Barberger-Gateau P. Mediterranean diet and cognitive function in older adults. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010;13(1):14‐18. doi:10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283331fe4
  • Anastasiou CA, Yannakoulia M, Kosmidis MH, et al. Mediterranean diet and cognitive health: Initial results from the Hellenic Longitudinal Investigation of Ageing and Diet. PLoS One. 2017;12(8):e0182048. Published 2017 Aug 1. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0182048