The Media Line led over twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Look out for exciting new additions as we enter 2022.

We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays.
The Media Line

Non-profit news needs public support.
Please support us with your generous contributions:
Green Mediterranean Diet Helps Keep Brain Young, Israeli Study Finds

Green Mediterranean Diet Helps Keep Brain Young, Israeli Study Finds

Consumption of foods rich in polyphenols found to have significant effect on slowing age-related neurodegeneration

Israeli researchers have found that a green Mediterranean diet, consisting of foods rich in polyphenols and low in red and processed meat, slows down age-related brain atrophy.

The findings of the 18-month long randomized control trial, which was led by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, were published on Tuesday in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study represents one of the largest and longest brain MRI trials in the world. Overall, there were 284 participants (88% men) between the ages of 31 and 82 – all of whom are employees at the Dimona Nuclear Research Center. They were randomly divided into three groups that each followed a specific set of dietary guidelines: a healthy diet, a Mediterranean diet and a green Mediterranean diet. All the participants were furthermore placed in physical activity programs and received free gym memberships.

Both Mediterranean diet groups consumed walnuts, while those in the green-Med group additionally drank three to four cups of green tea per day as well as a daily shake of Mankai duckweed, an aquatic plant, as a substitute for dinner. The green-Med group also consumed a minimal amount of red and processed meat.

A green smoothie, similar to shake that participants in the study drank. (Joanna Slodownik/Wikimedia Commons)

Participants in the green-Med group, who consumed the highest level of polyphenols (naturally occurring compounds found in plants), were found to have a significant decrease in age-related brain atrophy.

The study featured brain experts from Ben-Gurion University, Leipzig University and Harvard University. It was led by Prof. Iris Shai, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Ben-Gurion University and adjunct professor at Harvard University, and the trial was conducted by Dr. Alon Kaplan, a physician at Sheba Medical Center and Ph.D. student at Ben-Gurion University.

All participants underwent MRI brain scans before and after the trial.

Specifically, researchers measured hippocampal-occupancy (HOC) and lateral-ventricle-volume (LVV) as indicators of brain atrophy and predictors of future dementia. The most dramatic improvements were seen in those over the age of 50.

“This is the longest and the largest MRI brain trial related to diet or anything,” Shai told The Media Line. “We were amazed to see such dramatic changes in 18 months in human beings that we could identify by anatomical structures in the brain. It was actually quite surprising.

“We could see that the Mediterranean diet and specifically the green-Mediterranean diet, which has much more polyphenols, could actually protect the brain and attenuate age-related brain atrophy,” she said.

Dr. Iris Shai, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Ben-Gurion University and adjunct professor at Harvard University. (Dani Machlis/BGU)

Participants who followed both Mediterranean diets also displayed an improvement in insulin sensitivity, which is associated with attenuated brain atrophy.

Discovering a link between brain health and diet has long been difficult for scientists due to the need for large-scale, long-term trials. The Ben-Gurion University study was funded by grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG), Israel’s Health Ministry and Science and Technology Ministry, and the California Walnuts Commission.

According to Shai, none of the funding providers were involved in any stage of the design, conduct or analysis of the study.

“Since brain atrophy is considered to be [unpreventable], our results might suggest a simple, safe, and promising avenue to slow age-related neurodegeneration by adhering to a green-Mediterranean diet,” Dr. Alon Kaplan, who conducted the trial, told The Media Line.

Since brain atrophy is considered to be [unpreventable], our results might suggest a simple, safe, and promising avenue to slow age-related neurodegeneration by adhering to a green-Mediterranean diet

“Our findings suggest that it may halt brain aging, as well as other atrophy, as seen in dementia and specifically in Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “Furthermore, improved insulin sensitivity was the strongest metabolic factor for brain atrophy attenuation.”

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

  • The Middle East landscape is changing rapidly.
  • The roads in the region open to new possibilities.
  • The Media Line continues to pave the way to a far greater understanding of the region’s land, people, policies and governments through our trusted, fact-based news.

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Please make your gift today.
Thank you!

We paved the way to be the Trusted Mid East News you can rely on!

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.