Dietary changes may cut risk of dementia

July 23, 2002 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News

Dietary changes may cut risk of dementia

A handful of studies presented at the world's largest gathering of Alzheimer’s disease experts last week, all spoke about the same point: your brain is affected by what you eat.

Researchers have always known that Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of both genetics and environment, but this year the linkage with vascular risk factors is undeniable.

Researchers at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio have been studying diet and lifestyle since 1991 and they presented a half dozen studies at the meeting. Based on their ongoing studies, they now recommend a diet that is high in antioxidants--meaning at least five servings of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables daily--and one that is relatively low in fat.

They also recommend fish because fish has been shown to be protective. They also advise on taking a vitamin B supplement since some B vitamins lower blood homocysteine, a compound that is known to damage blood vessel walls.

The researchers reported that one study suggests that the diet consumed during one's 40s and 50s greatly influences risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The findings are based on survey results about the frequency of consumption of 29 specific food groups. They asked about dairy products, red meats, processed meats, sugared drinks, fried foods, whole grain foods, and so on.

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