“This diet has been shown to be particularly supportive of a woman’s brain, and women’s health overall,” Mosconi says. But after analyzing the science more, “it looks like it really works for men and women.”
Protein in the Mediterranean diet primarily comes from seafood, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids. According to Mosconi, the omega-3s in fish are polyunsaturated fats, like Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), both of which are crucial for brain health. “They’re part of our brain cell membranes,” she explains.
Along with healthy fats, antioxidants in the Mediterranean diet have protective properties. “The brain is the organ that is most easily affected by oxidative stress,” Mosconi explains. The only way to protect the brain from that stress is by introducing antioxidants to the diet.
Many of these antioxidants come from fruits and veggies, such as goji berries and blackberries. “Everybody goes for blueberries, but blackberries actually contain more antioxidants than blueberries,” Mosconi says.
Produce isn’t the only source of brain-boosting antioxidants, though. Legumes, nuts, seeds, coffee, and even red wine contain critical antioxidants. For those who don’t like red wine, pomegranate juice contains nearly equal amounts of polyphenols, Mosconi adds.