Mediterranean diet may cut dementia risk

Fresh vegetables, fish and nuts can help reduce dementia. (file pic)

Fresh vegetables, fish and nuts can help reduce dementia. (file pic)

LONDON, PAA – A Mediterranean-style diet rich in oily fish, fresh vegetables and nuts could help cut the risk of dementia.

New studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London examined links between diet and dementia and found following a nutrient-rich diet helps keep the brain healthy.

In a study on almost 6000 people led by the University of California, scientists found those who stuck closest to a Mediterranean or similar diet over a year were 30-35 per cent less likely to have low scores on cognitive tests than those who did not.

This was even after taking into account factors such as smoking, exercise, overall health and socio-economic status.
Co-author Claire McEvoy said the benefits of healthy eating seem to exist on a sliding scale.

“Even moderate adherence to these high-quality dietary patterns showed a protective association with cognitive function,” she said.

Dr Maria Carrillo, chief science officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, said the study showed changing your dietary pattern “really is quite impactful”.

She told Fox Business: “You can change your trajectory of cognitive decline if you are adherent, for example, to Mediterranean diets or other diets low in saturated fats, low in processed flour and processed sugar.

‘Good fats are important. Fats found in fish and good meats, as opposed to red meats, are all very good for your brain.”

She said another study from Columbia University had shown poor nutrition may increase inflammation in the body and lead to brain shrinkage.

“People that perhaps eat a lot of junk food and processed foods may end up having less brain cognition over time as they age and may actually have smaller brains.”

A Mediterranean diet includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil and whole grains, while being low in red and processed meat and with alcohol kept to a minimum.

People considered to get maximum benefit from the diet have less than one alcoholic drink a day for women, or one to two for men.

They also eat several servings of fruit and vegetables per day, one serving of wholegrains and up to four servings of fish per week.

Another study on more than 2,200 older adults, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, found people who stuck to a Nordic diet that consists of non-root vegetables, fruit, fish and poultry enjoyed a better cognitive status than those who ate a less healthy diet.

And another study on more than 7000 people in the US found older women who ate diets traditionally thought of as heart-healthy, such as a Mediterranean diet, were less likely to develop dementia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor Vast Interior Ballina.