A new study confirms the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet against dementia.
- The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. On the other hand, it limits the consumption of red meats and processed products.
- According to the new study, it reduces the risk of developing dementia by 23%.
- However, the majority of the sample was made up of people with European origins. The researchers acknowledge that trials with other populations are needed to generalize their results.
“Dementia impacts the lives of millions of people around the world, and there are currently limited options for treating this disease”says Dr Oliver Shannon, a lecturer in nutrition and aging at Newcastle University.
For the scientist, your diet can help slow cognitive decline, especially if you follow the Mediterranean diet.
Dementia: a risk reduced by 23% with Mediterranean cuisine
The lead researcher came to this conclusion after analyzing data from 60,298 people who participated in the large UK Biobank study. The volunteers were scored by the team using two measures for adherence to the Mediterranean diet. The follow-up lasted nearly a decade. During this period, 882 cases of dementia were recorded.
Scientists have found that individuals who follow a strict Mediterranean diet saw their risk of developing dementia decrease by 23% compared to those who did not adopt this cuisine.
In addition, the Mediterranean diet had a “protective effect” against dementia, regardless of the person’s genetic risk.
“The results of this large-based study underscore the long-term brain health benefits of consuming a Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats”says study co-author Dr Janice Ranson, a researcher at the University of Exeter.
Alzheimer’s: new trials to generalize the discovery to minorities
“These findings underscore the importance of dietary interventions in future dementia prevention strategies, independent of genetic predisposition”write the researchers in their study, published on March 14, 2023 in the scientific journal BMC Medicine.
However, their sample consisted mainly of people of European descent over the age of 60 when the research began. They thus recognize that new work must be carried out with other populations to confirm their discovery on dementia, a cognitive disorder of which Alzheimer’s disease is a part. This opinion is shared by Dr Susan Mitchell, representative of the Alzheimer’s Research UK association.
“This large new study adds to the global knowledge, but it only relies on data from people of white, British or Irish ancestry. Further research is needed to (…) find out whether these Reported benefits also translate to minority communities, where historically dementia has often been misunderstood and heavily stigmatized, and where awareness of how people can reduce their risk is low.”she remarks.
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