A new study in the journal Nutrition examined the effect of switching to a Mediterranean diet on mental and cardiovascular health outcomes.
The study included 24 female participants who were randomly assigned to either switching to a Mediterranean-style diet or no diet change for 10 days before switching back to their original diet for another 10 days (in the case of the Mediterranean diet group).
Researchers measured mood, cognition, blood pressure, blood flow velocity, and arterial stiffness at the beginning of the study, on day 11 after
completing the first diet segment, and again at day 22 after completing the switch back to their original diets.
- Consumption of a Mediterranean-style diet was associated with significant increases in contentment and alertness, reduced confusion, and improved memory recall.
- Consumption of a Mediterranean-style diet was associated with a significant reduction in augmentation pressure, though there were no significant effects seen regarding blood flow velocity through the common carotid artery.
In general, this study indicates that there may be significant improvements in mood, cognition, and some aspects of cardiovascular function in women after eating a Mediterranean diet, though more research with greater samples sizes should be considered before drawing any definitive conclusions.
Lee J, Pase M, Pipingas A, Raubenheimer J, Thurgood M, Villalon L,Macpherson H, Gibbs A, Scholey A. 2014. Switching to a 10-day Mediterranean-style diet improves mood and cardiovascular function in a controlled crossover study. Nutrition: doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.10.008.