Mediterranean diet linked to reduced risk of dementia

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There is no cure or proven one way to prevent dementia, which affects 55 million people worldwide, but a number of studies have said that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of developing the condition.

People who followed the Mediterranean diet — rich in seafood and plant foods — had up to a 23 percent lower risk of dementia than those who followed the diet less, according to the latest study, published Monday in the journal. BMC Medicine by an international team of researchers. In absolute numbers, the research found that sticking faithfully to a Mediterranean diet was equivalent to a 0.55% reduction in the risk of developing dementia.

The most recent research included 60,298 people who took part in the UK Biobank study and were followed over a period of just over nine years. During the study period, there were 882 cases of dementia among the group. Subjects were aged between 40 and 69 and were White British or Irish. How closely they followed the Mediterranean diet was assessed using two different questionnaires that have been widely used in previous studies of the diet, the researchers said.

“There is ample evidence that a healthy, balanced diet can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. But the evidence for specific diets is much less clear,” Susan Mitchell, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said in a statement. He did not participate in the investigation.

“This new, large study adds to this overall picture, but was only based on data from people of white, British or Irish descent,” he said. “More research is needed to build on her intriguing findings and reveal whether these reported benefits translate to minority communities, where historically dementia has often been largely misunderstood and stigmatized, and where awareness of how people can reduce risk is low”.

There is currently no magic bullet to stop dementia, but eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, regular physical activity and smoking are behaviors that contribute to heart health, which helps protect the brain from age-related diseases. dementia, he added.

The Mediterranean diet has an impressive list of science behind it. This way of eating can prevent cognitive decline, but also help the heart, reduce diabetes, prevent bone loss, encourage weight loss and more, according to studies.

A study published on March 8 revealed People who ate foods from the brain-focused MIND Mediterranean diet had fewer of the hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s — sticky beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain — when they underwent autopsies. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. The MIND diet, short for the Mediterranean diet-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.

The Mediterranean diet focuses on plant-based cooking. The majority of each meal should be fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds, along with a few nuts. Great emphasis is placed on extra virgin olive oil. Butter and other fats are rarely, if ever, consumed. Sweets and products made from refined sugar or flour are rare.

Meat may make a rare appearance, but usually only to flavor a dish. Instead, meals may include eggs, dairy and poultry, but in much smaller portions than in the traditional Western diet. However, fish, which are packed with brain-boosting omega-3s, are a basic one.

Study participants who adhered more to the diet were more likely to be female, have a BMI within the healthy range, have a higher level of education and be more physically active than those with lower adherence to the diet.

David Curtis, emeritus professor at UCL’s Institute of Genetics in London, who was not involved in the research, noted that the latest study was observational and did not reveal cause and effect. The finding could reflect a generally healthier lifestyle, he said.

“It is not clear that such a diet reduces the risk of dementia, although it is plausible that it may do so. It is important to note that the study is about all forms of dementia and not Alzheimer’s disease specifically. In my opinion, if there is an effect of diet, then it is more likely to affect cardiovascular health in general and therefore affect vascular dementia than Alzheimer’s disease.’

Duane Mellor, Registered Dietitian and Senior Lecturer at Aston University in Birmingham, UK, said the benefits of a Mediterranean diet are not limited to the nutrients provided by food.

“The Mediterranean diet is not just about the food on the plate, but the social interactions associated with food, and people who socialize more have a lower risk of dementia and other conditions,” noted Mellor, who was not involved in the research. a statement.

“We need to look at how a Mediterranean-style diet can be adapted to the foods that are available and consumed in the UK, so that comprehensive messages about healthy eating can be developed, which include the importance of the social aspects of sharing and eating food with others’.

The study tentatively suggested that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of dementia even when a person had an existing genetic risk for the disease.

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