The Mediterranean way of eating has long been hailed as the healthiest all round diet to look after your heart and brain but new research might knock it off it’s pedestal.
Scientists at the University of Rotterdam found that those who ate the Dutch way – similar to Mediterranean but with plenty of dairy and carbohydrates too – had bigger brains and “better cognitive abilities” than those who didn’t.
To eat Dutch you are essentially eating a healthy all round diet packed with fruit, vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts and unsaturated fats. Carbs and dairy are most certainly included in there too. The Dutch love bread with their breakfast and lunch and yoghurt and cottage cheese are staples too. While there’s plenty you can eat it’s suggested that saturated fats, red meat, processed foods, alcohol, sugary drinks and salt are limited.
The Dutch diet likes to focus on the eating plan as a whole, rather than singling out healthy foods within it. We know oily fish with high omega-3 content, like sardines and salmon, are renowned for boosting brain health and memory but what good is stocking up on fish if you wash it down with a fizzy sugary drink and a side of processed french fries?
Pauline Croll, one of the researchers on the team said: “If someone eats a lot of vegetables, the beneficial health benefits will disappear when they also eat a lot of unhealthy saturated fats. Instead of having one ‘hero’ food for brain health, I’d recommend a hero diet.”
The Dutch are also renowned for living an active lifestyle with many people opting to cycle rather than drive. Exercise has been shown in studies to improve memory and is fantastic for heart health too.
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