Sign up for CNN’s Eat, But Better: Mediterranean Style. Our eight-part guide will show you a delicious, expert-backed eating style that will boost your health for a lifetime.
There is no cure or proven way to prevent dementia, which affects 55 million people around the world, but a number of studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of developing this disease.
People who were most likely to adhere to a Mediterranean diet — high in seafood and plant-based foods — had up to a 23% lower risk of dementia than those less adherent to the diet, according to the latest study, published Monday was published in the journal BMC Medicine by an international team of researchers. In absolute terms, the study found that sticking to a Mediterranean diet equated to a 0.55% reduction in dementia risk.
The latest study involved 60,298 people who were part of the UK Biobank study and were followed over a period of just over nine years. There were 882 cases of dementia in the group during the study period. The subjects were aged between 40 and 69 and were white British or Irish. How closely they adhered to the Mediterranean diet was assessed using two different questionnaires that had been widely used in previous studies of the diet, the researchers said.
“There is a wealth of evidence that a healthy, balanced diet can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. But evidence for specific diets is much less conclusive,” Susan Mitchell, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said in a statement. She was not involved in the investigation.
“This new, large study adds to that bigger picture, but it only relied on data from people of white, British or Irish ancestry,” she said. “Further research is needed to build on the intriguing findings and determine whether these reported benefits also translate to minority communities, where dementia has historically been misunderstood and heavily stigmatized, and where there is increased awareness of how people reduce their risk.” can, is low.”
There is currently no magic bullet to stop dementia, but eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, getting regular physical activity and not smoking are behaviors that contribute to heart health and protect the brain from diseases associated with dementia, she added.
The Mediterranean diet has an impressive list of science behind it. This type of diet can prevent cognitive decline, but it can also help the heart, reduce diabetes, prevent bone loss, promote weight loss and more, studies have found.
A study published on March 8 found People who consumed foods from the Mediterranean and brain-focused MIND diets had fewer of the hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s — sticky beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain — at autopsy. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. The MIND Diet, short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on plant-based cuisine. The majority of each meal should consist of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds, and a few nuts. Great value is placed on extra virgin olive oil. Butter and other fats are consumed rarely or not at all. Sweets and goods made from refined sugar or flour are rare.
Meat may appear rarely, but usually only to flavor a dish. Instead, meals may include eggs, dairy, and poultry, but in much smaller portions than the traditional Western diet. However, fish, which is packed with brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, is a stack.
Study participants who adhered most closely to the diet were more likely to be female, had a BMI in the healthy range, had a higher level of education, and were more physically active than those with less adherence to the diet.
David Curtis, an honorary professor at the UCL Genetics Institute in London who was not involved in the research, noted that the latest study was observational and failed to reveal cause and effect. The finding may reflect an overall healthier lifestyle, he said.
“It is not clear that such a diet by itself reduces the risk of dementia, although it is plausible that it might. It’s important to note that the study affects all forms of dementia, not Alzheimer’s disease specifically. In my opinion, when diet has an effect, it is more likely to affect cardiovascular health in general and therefore more likely to affect dementia due to vascular disease than Alzheimer’s disease.”
Duane Mellor, a Registered Dietitian and Lecturer at Aston University in Birmingham, UK, said the benefits of a Mediterranean diet are not limited to the nutrients provided by the food.
“The Mediterranean way of eating isn’t just about food on plates, it’s about the social interactions that come with eating, and people who socialize more have a lower risk of dementia and other conditions,” Mellor noted , who was not involved in the research, made a statement.
“We need to consider how a Mediterranean diet can be adapted to the foods available and consumed in the UK so that inclusive healthy eating messages can be developed. This includes the importance of the social aspects of sharing and eating 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.