Dementia is one of the most emotionally painful things a person can go through. Not just for the person going through it, but also for their family and loved ones.
But what if we told you that you can reduce the risk of dementia by a whole quarter simply by changing your diet a little?
The findings of the data suggest that eating plant based foods can have a “protective effect” against dementia regardless of whether you are genetically at risk of getting it.
This research is based on data of over 60,000 individuals from the UK Biobank which is an online database of medical and lifestyle records from more than half a million Britons.
Study joint leadauthor Janice Ranson, who is a senior research fellow at the University of Exeter, said, “The findings from this large population-based study underscore the long-term brain health benefits of consuming a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.”
“The protective effect of this diet against dementia was evident regardless of a person’s genetic risk, and so this is likely to be a beneficial lifestyle choice for people looking to make healthy dietary choices and reduce their risk of dementia,” she added.
The way this study worked was that the researchers scored individuals using two measures for adherence to the Mediterranean diet. They also took into account each individual’s genetic risk for dementia.
Over the course of almost ten years, about 882 people had dementia. But it was found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet lowered their risk of developing the condition by 23% compared to those who ate differently.
Dr. Oliver Shannon, who is the lead author of the study and a lecturer in human nutrition and ageing at Newcastle University, said that finding ways to reduce the risk of dementia is very important for public health.
“Dementia impacts the lives of millions of individuals throughout the world, and there are currently limited options for treating this condition,” he said.
According to the NHS, there is currently no specific cure for dementia. An early diagnosis can slow down the process in some cases, and also help the individual get the right treatment and support.
The researchers hope that this could form the basis of future health strategies if further research confirms their findings, and that it could pave the way for more research and new preventive treatments.
In the meantime, we can always do well to incorporate a Mediterranean diet into our lives. Not only is it very tasty, but also there is an added bonus of having the chance to reduce the risk of dementia.