How your diet could slash your dementia risk by a quarter | The Sun

A MEDITERRANEAN diet has long been touted as the best way to eat for a healthy heart.

And studies have found that it can reduce type-2 diabetes risk, helping you live a long, happy life. 

But the diet, which is rich in plant-based foods, seafood, fruit, nuts, legumes and olive oil, could also cut your risk of developing dementia by almost a quarter.

A new study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, looked at data from the UK Biobank, collected from people who had self-completed a dietary assessment.

It showed that those who stuck regularly to a Mediterranean diet had up to a 23 per cent lower risk for dementia, compared with people who rarely, if ever, ate in the Mediterranean way. 

The researchers also looked at what role genetics might play in dementia risk, and found the benefits of eating like they do in the Med remained – but more detailed research is needed. 

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So, whether you’re concerned about ageing well or are keen to give yourself the best chance in dodging dementia, it’s time to grab the olive oil, cut down on red meat and stock up on pulses, beans, tomatoes and fish.

It comes after medics in the US also found that the MIND diet, which is based on the Med diet with an emphasis on leafy green, could help, with experts saying the development is 'exciting'.

They studied how closely people kept to the MIND diet, which has been developed for brain health, and Mediterranean diet to see how it affected their chances of Alzheimer's.

Dr Puja Agarwal, of the RUSH University in Chicago, said: "Improvement in people’s diets in just one area was associated with fewer amyloid plaques in the brain similar to being about four years younger.

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"While our research doesn’t prove that a healthy diet resulted in fewer brain deposits of amyloid plaques, we know there is a relationship.

“Following the MIND and Mediterranean diets may be one way that people can improve their brain health and protect cognition as they age.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which is suffered by around 850,000 in the UK.

It is thought to be caused by a build-up of proteins called amyloids and tau in the brain.

These deposits form plaques around brain cells or tangles within them respectively.

The latest study, published in Neurology, tracked diets in 581 elderly people with an average age of 84.

They were given questionnaires each year asking them how much of each food they ate until they died.

After they died, researchers looked at their brains to see how many amyloid plaques or tau tangles had built up.

People who scored highest for adhering to the Mediterranean diet had average amounts in their brains similar to being 18 years younger than people who scored lowest.

Those who stuck to MIND most had average plaque and tangle amounts similar to being 12 years younger than those who scored lowest.

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Professor Argawal said: “Our finding that eating more green leafy vegetables is in itself associated with fewer signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain is intriguing enough for people to consider adding more of these vegetables to their diet.

“Future studies are needed to establish our findings further.”

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