Choosing the healthiest diet

(NBC News) One of the inevitable truths about getting older is that we lose brain volume, making us more vulnerable to memory problems and disease.

Now a new study of nearly a thousand older adults finds the Mediterranean Diet can protect against brain shrinkage.

Those who regularly consumed plenty of fruit, vegetables, olive oil, beans and grains throughout their lives did not lose as much brain volume in their 70’s as people who strayed more often from the diet.

“So the reduced loss in the people who adhered to the Mediterranean diet would in general be expected to protect them from developing dementia,” says Mayo Clinic neurologist Dr. David Knopman.

U.S. News and world report ranked a similar diet, called the DASH diet, as “Best Overall.”

The word “DASH” doesn’t have anything to do with fast food. It stands for “Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension.”

Experts say it seems to do just that, helping to bring down high blood pressure.

It’s also rich in fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy.

The DASH and Mediterranean diets are similar, and your doctor can help you figure out which one is right for you.