Skip to main content

Is adherence to a Mediterranean diet associated with cognitive function and dementia?

Relationships between diet and physical health are well recognized as are the protective effects of the Mediterranean diet on the risk of various chronic diseases and longevity.  Dietary patterns, as opposed to individual nutrients or foods, are an emerging area of research in recent years. It is believed that dietary patterns can reflect dietary behaviours of individuals more spherically, as they combine foods which in turn may have synergistic or antagonistic effects on health.

The traditional Mediterranean diet refers to an eating behaviour characterised by 1) high intake of fruits, 2) vegetables, 3) cereals and 4) legumes, 5) low consumption of saturated fats with olive oil as the main source of fat, 6) moderate consumption of fish, 7) low to moderate intake of dairy products (in the form of yogurt and cheese), 8) low consumption of red meat and meat products and 9) moderate amount of alcohol , especially wine, usually consumed during meals. Such a multi-nutrient approach includes most of the components studied in relation to cognitive decline and incident dementia. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that adherence to a Mediterranean diet may be protective against cognitive decline and dementia, while it may also prove useful in the management of malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies often observed in dementia patients and elderly people.

The purpose of this systematic review is to investigate and determine the potential association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and cognitive function and dementia.


Ilianna Lourida
David Llewellyn
Jo Thompson Coon


Upcoming Events


PPI Advice Clinic

South Cloisters, St Luke's Campus, University of Exeter

Patient and Public Involvement Advice Clinics Held every month 30 minutes between 12pm-1pm Whatever your query, from finding...
More information


Searching and Review Clinic

South Cloisters 2.35, St Luke's Campus

These clinics have been set up to help the PenCLAHRC Evidence Synthesis Team to manage and respond...
More information



Job Opportunity: Senior Research Fellow PenARC

15 August 2019

We have an exciting opportunity for an experienced Senior Research Fellow with expertise in qualitative...
Read more

Job Opportunity: Implementation Science Research Associate/Research Fellow/Senior Research Fellow

07 August 2019

Do you have a passion for Implementation Science, Knowledge Mobilisation and Health Research? Then we...
Read more

'How-to' guide launched to speed up spread of ‘game-changing’ stroke treatment

31 July 2019

A 'how-to' guide to help accelerate the spread of ‘game-changing’ mechanical thrombectomy (MT) emergency treatment...
Read more


Research Projects

Understanding stakeholders’ perspectives on implementing deprescribing in care homes (STOPPING)

Theme: Person-Centred Care

We have been awarded funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to develop...
Read more

SAMueL – Stroke Audit Machine Learning

Theme: PenCHORD

This study aims to develop a tool for doctors to help them review and improve...
Read more

Research Projects