Mediter­ranean diet may help cut risk of de­men­tia

Nu­tri­ent-rich diet can help keep the brain healthy

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - News - Jane kirby

A Mediter­ranean-style diet which is rich in oily fish, fresh veg­eta­bles and nuts could help cut the risk of de­men­tia, re­search sug­gests.

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

In a study on al­most 6,000 peo­ple, led by the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at San Fran­cisco, sci­en­tists found that those who stuck the clos­est to a Mediter­ranean or sim­i­lar diet over the course of a year were 30% to 35% less likely to have low scores on cog­ni­tive tests than those who did not stick to such a diet.

This was even af­ter tak­ing into ac­count fac­tors such as smok­ing, ex­er­cise, over­all health and so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus.

Claire McEvoy, co-au­thor of the re­search, 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 that 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 that are 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 that poor nutri­tion may in­crease in­flam­ma­tion in the body and lead to brain shrink­age.

She said: “Peo­ple who 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 who are 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.

Pic­ture: PA.

Re­search sug­gests fats found in fish and good meats, as op­posed to red meats, are good for your brain.

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