Mediterranean Diet in Preventing Neurodegenerative Diseases

Abstract

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.

Summary

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.

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Fig. 1

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

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Correspondence to Hannah Gardener.

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

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Neurological Disease and Cognitive Function

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Gardener, H., Caunca, M.R. Mediterranean Diet in Preventing Neurodegenerative Diseases. Curr Nutr Rep 7, 10–20 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13668-018-0222-5

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Keywords

  • Mediterranean diet
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Dementia
  • Epidemiology
  • Brain health