By: Kecia Lilly

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, then the doctor may have recommended taking a look at the Mediterranean Diet which, as of late, has received a lot of attention for lowering risk and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

MeDi (Mediterranean Diet) has grown in popularity due to the quantifiable proof that it increases overall health. For those who stick with the Mediterranean Diet, the risk of cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is lowered significantly, and for those already diagnosed with AD, studies show that MeDi slows its progression. All good news! So…

What does the Mediterranean Diet entail?

The backbone of the Mediterranean Diet is fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.); these make up the majority of your food intake. Although MeDi doesn’t forego meats, it does restrict them. For example, they suggest red meat 1-3 times a month and fish (or chicken) 2-5 times a week. On the plus side, it’s actually encouraged to drink some red wine at night.

Here’s a quick list of things to do use MeDi effectively:

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
  • Eat a handful of nuts
  • Eat red meat 1-3 times a month
  • Eat poultry and fish 2-5 times a week
  • Eat eggs, cheese, and yogurt daily, but in moderate portions
  • Replace butter with olive oil
  • Add spices and herbs instead of salt
  • Drink red wine (responsibly)

Why (and how) does the Mediterranean Diet work?

Researchers are not entirely sure, but what they have found are the numbers and statistics to back it up. It does help, and there are some indicators as to why (though nothing concrete). Many believe it’s simply because MeDi does away with trans and saturated fats, processed foods and added sugars. Without those elements influencing the body, people are healthier and live longer. I mean, you can’t very well be on the Mediterranean Diet and eat fast food every day; French fries with ketchup is not the same as eating potatoes and tomatoes.

To a certain extent, the Mediterranean Diet does what any other diet will do, it ensures you’re putting real food in your body and not processed muck. That said, while other diets have had success, MeDi has been proven to be about 8-10% more effective than similar diets (e.g. the MIND diet).

In short, “you are what you eat” comes to mind, and if you eat nothing but junk food and garbage, your body will react adversely. When I choose my morning meal and am tempted by a donut, I think, “Would I really want a donut for an arm?” No. Not even in jest.