Adherence to the Mediterranean diet pattern, cognitive status and depressive symptoms in an elderly non-institutionalized population.

Ana Hernández-Galiot, Isabel Goñi


Abstract: Introduction: Scientific evidence indicates that adherence to the Mediterranean diet protects against the deterioration of cognitive status and depressive symptoms during aging. However, few studies have been conducted in elderly non-institutionalized subjects. Objetive: This study evaluated the relation between the adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern and cognitive status and depressive symptoms in an elderly population over 75 years. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a Mediterranean city (Garrucha, Spain) in 79 elderly people over 75 (36 men and 41 women). Adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern was determined using the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS). Cognitive function was determined by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), and depressive symptoms were assessed by the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Results: Most of population showed a very high adherence to the Mediterranean diet pattern and optimal cognitive and affective status. They consumed olive oil as their main source of fat, high levels of fish and fruit, low levels of foods with added sugars, and a low consumption of red meat. A significant inverse relation between the MEDAS and MMSE scores was found. However, no relationship was observed between the MEDAS and GDS.Conclusions: The Mediterranean diet pattern was positively related with the cognitive function, although the influence of a healthy dietary pattern on the symptomatology of depression was unclear. However, an effective strategy against cognitive function and depression would be to improve physical activity rates, establish lifelong healthy eating habits, and consume a nutritionally-rich diet in order to enhance quality of life of the elderly.

Palabras clave

Older adult; Mediterranean dietary pattern; cognitive function; depression; aging

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