• Mediterranean Diet Meal

Mediterranean Diet Meal (Photo : Reuters/Albert Gea)

A brand new study of elderly people showed that those who maintained a Mediterranean diet had heavier brains that contained more cells, showing that the olive oil, fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and fish in the square meals helped to stop shrinking brains and encourage healthy aging brains. This seems to suggest that it could have the same health benefits for senior citizens as regular exercise, staying mentally active, and quitting smoking, as ways to avoid memory loss, and types of dementia including Alzheimer's disease.

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The study was published in the journal Neurology.

It examined the brains of 674 people who had an average age of 80 years old. Participants were required to complete surveys about the food they ate during the last year, and were given a brain scan.

Participants who ate the Mediterranean diet had heavier and healthier brains.

The Mediterranean diet mostly includes plant-based foods. It also includes small amounts of milk or yogurt, and fish or chicken. A daily glass of wine is also allowed.

One key to the healthy cuisine is for the dieter to limit how much meat, dairy, and saturated fat they eat. Cooking is done with olive oil due to its healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, according to ABC News.

Fish was key in the study's findings. Dr. Brian Appleby of University Hospitals Case Medical Center explained that it contains the same types of fatty acids that form brain cells.

However, even volunteers who followed a combo of the Mediterranean and DASH diet (MIND) had a 53 percent lower chance of suffering from Alzheimer's disease, according to CNN. MIND includes less fish and fruit.

Researchers learned that people on the Mediterranean diet had a bigger brain volume, and more white and grey matter. Elderly people usually suffer brain shrinkage due to aging.

The latest study builds on previous studies. They showed that the Mediterranean diet can help weight management, lower risk of heart disease and cancer, and increase life expectancy.