Mediterranean diet could be key to fighting Alzheimer's
THEY already have the sunshine and the relaxed way of life and now the people of the Mediterranean may also hold the key to fighting one of the most deadly and debilitating conditions in the world.

The potential benefits of a Mediterranean diet were first discovered in 1945 by an American doctor living in Italy, who noticed that the locals had reduced risk of heart disease.

A new study has also found that the same kind of healthy, oily diet that is common around the Med can help fight off the dementia condition Alzheimer's.

The study carried out by the American Medical Association found that those who enjoyed the traditional diet of the region - thus avoiding saturated fats and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables - can slash the risk of developing the condition by as much as 40 percent.

When that is added to a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise, the reduction can be up to 60 per cent.

But what exactly does that mean in terms of what we eat and drink? One of the building blocks of the Med diet is olives and olive oil.

You should also eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, use herbs and spices to flavour food instead of salt and it's important to eat fish or shellfish at least twice a week.

Nuts are important as well but don't eat too many of them - a small handful a day will be fine.

Stick to walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts, which are all low in saturated fat and make sure they are not salted or honeyroasted.

It's also important to limit your intake of red meat, while other no-nos include butter or margarine.

The people of the Med prefer olive oil with their bread, which is much healthier.

And antioxidant-rich red wine, in sensible, healthy moderation, is also an important part of any Mediterranean diet.

But don't forget, it's also vital to get as much exercise and indulge in as much healthy outdoor activity as possible.

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