October 25, 2023

Classic Brain Boosting Mediterranian Dish

Keep your brain health up to date with a simple greek salad.

My classic go to salad when enjoying pizzas is something I didn't even realise links to healthy ageing, but I did assume it was pretty okay for me. A study published in the medical journal Neurology in 2017, backed up previous work suggesting that a Mediterranean diet was beneficial to healthy aging and especially regarding the effects on the brain. The Mediterranean Diet is made up of many factors including large amounts of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, beans and cereal grains such as wheat and rice, moderate amounts of fish, dairy and wine, and limited red meat and poultry. This study among many others just adds to the mountain of anecdotal evidence from people all around the world that the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on health, but as this study explored, more specifically on brain health.

In the study, members of the Scottish population over the age of 70 and without dementia followed the Mediterranean Diet to various level with an MRI brain scan taken at the age of approximately 73 and again 3 years later. Essentially, as we age, the brain undergoes changes, often resulting in shrinkage and the loss of brain cells, which can consequently impact learning and memory. This research found that variations in diet could account for half of the brain volume changes typically attributed to the natural aging process. 

Interestingly, it did not back up the previous theories suggesting that increased fish consumption and decreased meat consumption could influence these outcomes. It is proposed, but still unclear that other elements of the Mediterranean diet, or perhaps their combined effects, could be the primary driving forces behind the long term positive brain health associated with the diet.

I know we all try to but a greek salad or two each week is a great way to stay up to date on your brain health. I love making it with pizza nights and it also keeps great in the fridge.

Recipe Ingredients

1 cucumber, thinly sliced into half-moons

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 pt. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 c. halved kalamata olives

6 oz. feta, cut into 1/2 cubes

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp. dried oregano

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil


Step 1: In a large bowl, toss cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and olives. Gently fold in feta.

Step 2: In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and oregano until combined; season with salt and pepper. Slowly stream in oil, whisking until dressing is smooth and emulsified.

Step 3: Drizzle dressing over salad and toss again to combine.