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Oct 22, 2015 11:09 AM EDT

Mediterranean diet makes the aging brain healthier

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A new study suggests that following the Mediterranean diet can make the brain about five years younger, CNN reports.

It has already been established by scientists that regular exercise, healthy diet and mental stimulation keep the brain healthy.

The study was published in the journal Neurology.

For the study, the researchers studied the brains of 674 people with an average age of 80. All the participants filled out food surveys about what they ate in the last year.

The study revealed that the group that ate a Mediterranean diet had heavier brains with more gray and white matter. It was found that a higher consumption of fish seemed to make a big difference in keeping the brain young.

The Mediterranean diet comprises of mainly vegetables, fruits, beans and cereals, with a limited intake of meat, dairy and saturated fat. 

The Mediterranean diet has also been shown as a key to helping you live longer, managing the weight and lowering the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

"These results are exciting, as they raise the possibility that people may potentially prevent brain shrinking and the effects of aging on the brain simply by following a healthy diet," said study author Yian Gu, according to Forbes.com.

An earlier study in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that people who ate a Mediterranean diet with nuts or olive oil performed better on cognitive tasks than those who ate a low-fat diet.

"The magnitude of the association with brain measures was relatively small," said Gu, according to forbes.com.

"but when you consider that eating at least five of the recommended Mediterranean diet components has an association comparable to five years of aging, that is substantial."

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