Nutrition in the News

Fernando Rico-Alarcon M#02223566

Eat Mediterranean Diet for a Healthier and Younger Brain

Updated 9:35 AM ET, Thu October 22, 2015

By Jen Christensen, CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/21/health/mediterranean-diet-healthier-brain/index.html

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Summary

Jen Christensen has summarized a few key points about the advantages of following a Mediterranean diet. The article begins with an introduction to a study about the correlation between brain size and adherence to a Mediterranean diet. The author reiterates the findings presented by the study – that among participants, following a Mediterranean diet can maintain overall brain volume and cortical thickness. This can in turn reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, stroke and dementia. The author continues from there to briefly describe the Mediterranean diet - which includes less red meat and an increased intake of fruit & vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, and even a daily glass of wine. In addition to eating less red meat, it is advisable to consume less fatty dairy and saturated fat. And of course, always use olive oil instead of butter. The author then ties another study to her original outline: introducing the MIND diet which can benefit people that prefer not to or can’t eat fish. The MIND diet, described by the author, is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. This study also showed significant results in lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The author closes the article with additional information linking the Mediterranean diet to a longer life, better weight management, and a lower risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The final conclusion is that “you’ll likely be physically and mentally healthier long into old age if you stick with this diet”. (Christensen, J. 2015, October 22. Eat Mediterranean Diet for a Healthier and Younger Brain. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/21/health/mediterranean-diet-healthier-brain/index.html)

Critique

Overall, this is a well sourced article on the benefits of eating a Mediterranean diet. Although there are a few grammatical errors, the article flows well and provides useful, scientifically backed information for those seeking to improve their health by eating a more varied and nutritious diet. According to CNN, Jen Christensen is an experienced producer and editor for their Health, Medical and Wellness Unit and has earned distinguished awards in the fields of broadcasting and journalism. This however, does not necessarily qualify her to write on health and nutrition related material because she does not hold a degree in dietetics or a health related field. Although Ms. Christensen does work under the supervision of CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


As previously mentioned, the article cites excellent sources. Every reference is that of a well-known and respected organization that provides unbiased scientifically proven information. Throughout the article, all claims are linked so the reader can explore further. I found this more helpful than anything, because I’m able to further study the pros and cons of each diet mentioned in the article.


The article provides a brief introduction to the Mediterranean diet and other possible alternatives that still provide healthy nutritious foods. Although it was not intended to - the article only provides a superficial introduction and does not delve deep into the countless types of Mediterranean foods and the benefits of each. The article does provide enough information for the reader to understand that Mediterranean foods have been proven to have beneficial effects for the mind and body. In addition, the diets referenced are linked to reducing the risk of possibly preventable diseases.


The claims made by the author are backed by the sources provided. None of the claims made are unsubstantiated, false, or misleading. It is well proven that eating a Mediterranean diet can improve health.