The positive health benefits of a Mediterranean diet are well established: The PREDIMED study was launched in 2003 with the aim of assessing the role of a Mediterranean diet for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in asymptomatic patients with high cardiovascular risk. Data stemming from this study clearly implicate the diet in reducing cardiovascular risk via a variety of mechanisms, with participants adhering to the diet reported to have an approximately 30% reduced risk for a cardiovascular event.
Basic scientific research, old wives' tales, and common sense all suggest that the best way to promote brain function is to keep your mind active. Intriguingly however, a recent report from Elsa Suberbielle and colleagues published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, seems to suggest just the opposite.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder which is characterized by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that result in worry and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) aimed at alleviating the anxiety. While most of us have run back into the house to check the stove was turned off, people suffering from OCD experience these thoughts more frequently, and to the point that it becomes alienating and all-consuming. But what causes it?
Consumption of caffeine, in moderation, is reported to have a number of health benefits including increases in alertness, stamina during exercise, pain relief, and memory. Further research indicates that chemically, it functions as an antioxidant and consequently helps to minimize damaging free radicals that are present in a variety of oxidative stress-related disorders including Alzheimer’s Disease and heart disease. Additional data suggest that caffeine may play a role in minimizing depression by increasing the production of dopamine in the brain.