Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Get Smart -- Go Mediterranean! Recipe: Wasabi-Grilled Tuna with Blueberry, Black Bean and Avocado Salsa
Another health benefit has been added to the many accolades already received by Mediterranean diet -- protecting your brain.
Unlike the typical American diet, which is high in meat, the Mediterranean diet replaces meat with higher intakes of seeds, nuts, fish, olives and cultured dairy (i.e. cheese, yogurt, kefir -- NOT milk.) Mediterranean eaters also have more whole grains, fruits, veggies and red wine, while eating much less sugar than Americans typically do. See the Mediterranean diet food pyramid below.
Long known to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, cancer and help you live longer, a 2006 study by Columbia University showed that the Mediterranean diet also protects cognitive function, helping to prevent Alzheimer's disease or keep it from deteriorating further.
Even moderate adherence to the Mediterranean diet provides major results: a 45% reduction in the risk of going from mild cognitive impairment to developing Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers aren't yet sure why the diet provides such noticeable benefits. Two reasons may be that it prevents inflammation and high cholesterol, both of which may reduce cognitive function over time. They do agree, however, that the more of the Mediterranean diet that you eat, the more health benefits you will see.
So eat like a Greek, a Turk, an Italian, or a sun-dappled dweller of your favorite Mediterranean destination, wherever that may be. You'll be glad you did for a long time to come.
Here is a Good Life Series recipe that we modeled after the Mediterranean diet -- with an Asian kick!
Recipe: Wasabi-Grilled Tuna with Blueberry, Black Bean and Avocado Salsa.