Dementia: ‘Enhanced’ Mediterranean diet linked to better cognitive performance – study

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To this end, scientists and researchers are now working at full speed to develop new treatments, both preventative and reactive for dementia.

While they’ve started late, there is hope among the dementia research community that new developments could make their way to patients in the next decade.

Meanwhile, the biggest brains within that community are investigating how people can reduce their risk of developing dementia.

One of those ways could be through their diet.

A new study from Harvard University says the Mediterranean diet could play a role in reducing a person’s risk of developing dementia.

In a statement on its website, it said: “One factor that a number of studies have converged on is a Mediterranean-style diet.”

A Mediterranean diet is one that contains:
• Fish
• Olive oil
• Avocados
• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Nuts
• Beans
• Wholegrains
• Moderate consumption of red wine.

Of the studies in question, Harvard noted that one of them: “published in 2015 and updated in 2018 compared healthy older adults who followed a Mediterranean diet with extra olive oil or extra nuts versus a control reduced-fat diet.

“The enhanced Mediterranean diet groups fared equally well, and both had better cognitive performance outcomes than the reduced-fat diet group.”

While the results of this study were promising, Harvard added a key caveat: “No study, however, had been able to determine the critical components of the Mediterranean diet that makes it so good for the brain.”

That is until recently.

The latest study from the National Institutes of Health found: “Closer Mediterranean diet adherence was associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment but not slower decline in cognitive function.”

Fish, and the amount a person consumed, was found to be the key factor in this study.

Meanwhile, the second most important factor was the number of vegetables a person found in their diet.

Overall, Harvard concluded: “Only fish was associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Eating fish lowered the risk of both cognitive impairment and cognitive decline.”

These findings provide another level of information in the medicinal community’s fight against dementia.

Statistics say one in three people born today will develop a form of dementia in their lifetime.

This comes at a time when British Government has broken a promise to boost dementia funding to £160million; instead, it is being cut to £75million.

For more information dementia contact the NHS or consult with your GP.

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