(FOX 2) - You go to the gym to build strong muscles, but what about your brain game?
Limiting stress, exercising and getting enough sleep helps - but it turns out a particular eating style can help, too.
A new study suggests people who ate a Mediterranean-style foods had better brain function. That type of diet would be full with vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
"They have this nice foundation of good, nutrient-dense foods that are providing vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and I think that's why we see it again and again with things like cognitive functioning, and heart health, blood sugar balance, weight management," suggests Cleveland Clinic Dr. Lindsay Malone.
The study looked at the eating habits of more than 2,000 adults while in their 30s, and then looked at their brain function 25 and 30 years later.
Researchers found those who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were 46% less likely to have poor brain function at mid-life than those who ate other foods.
And it seems people who did eat the Mediterranean diet tended to have an easier time sticking to it, without feeling deprived. The Mediterranean diet allows for limited amounts of red wine, dark chocolate and quality dairy.
"Whenever you're adding something, especially something that is filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, it's going to elbow out something that maybe is less healthy for you. Take up some space in your diet and provide something of value," Malone says.
So if you want to try a Mediterranean diet, where do you start? One word: vegetables. Eat them either raw as in a salad, or roasted.
That's a big component of Mediterranean eating. Also add to that nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, seafood and olive oil.