Current Nutrition Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 10–20 | Cite as

Mediterranean Diet in Preventing Neurodegenerative Diseases

  • Hannah GardenerEmail author
  • Michelle R. Caunca
Neurological Disease and Cognitive Function (Y Gu, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Neurological Disease and Cognitive Function


Purpose of Review

We reviewed the most recent literature examining the associations between the Mediterranean-style diet (MD), neurodegenerative diseases, and markers and mechanisms of neurodegeneration.

Recent Findings

Most, but not all, epidemiologic studies report a protective association between MD adherence, cognitive impairment, and brain health. Data from clinical trials supporting these observational findings are also emerging. Limited evidence suggests that MD adherence may be protective for Parkinson’s disease risk. Mechanistically, plant polyphenols may activate similar molecular pathways as caloric restriction diets, which helps explain the neuroprotective properties of the MD.


Evidence for cognitive disorders is abundant, but there is a dearth of literature for other neurodegenerative disorders and for markers of neurodegeneration. Further research is needed to elucidate the protective role of MD on neurodegeneration, the most salient components of the MD, and the most sensitive time periods over the lifecourse at which the MD may exert its effects.


Mediterranean diet Neurodegeneration Neurodegenerative disease Alzheimer disease Dementia Epidemiology Brain health 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Hannah Gardener and Michelle R. Caunca declare they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Miller School of Medicine, and Evelyn F. McKnight Brain InstituteUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology and Population Health Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, Miller School of MedicineUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA

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