Mediterranean Diet and Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Eating lots of vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals and fish, while limiting meat and dairy products, emphasizing monounsaturated fats over saturated fats, and regularly consuming alcohol (beer, wine or liquor or distilled spirits) in moderation can significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center studied 2,258 elderly persons for an average of four years. At the beginning of the study none showed any signs of dementia but, by the end, 262 had developed Alzheimer’s. The investigation revealed that those persons who most closely followed the Mediterranean diet had reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s by about 40%.

The Mediterranean diet has long been shown to be a heart-healthy diet and there is growing evidence that “the kinds of things we associate with being bad for our heart turn out to be bad for our brain,” according to Dr. Marilyn Albert of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The study is published in the Annals of Neurology.



  • Scarmeas, N., et al. Mediterranean diet and risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Annals of Neurology, 2006 (published online April 18, 2006); Ritter, Malcolm. Study: Mediterranean diet can cut Alzheimer’s risk. Charlotte Observer, April 20, 2006; Bakalar, Nicholas. Nutrition: Mediterranean diet looks good for Alzheimer’s. New York times, April 25, 2006.

Filed Under: Brain

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