Study: “Anti-inflammatory” diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, tea and coffee reduces the risk of dementia
Eating an “anti-inflammatory” diet of fruits, vegetables, tea and coffee can reduce your chances of developing dementia by a third.
A cup of tea, morning coffee, fruits, vegetables, and legumes like lentils and chickpeas contain healthy plant compounds.
These help fight age-related infections in the body that can increase the risk of developing dementia.
A study ranked the diets of more than 1,000 older adults for anti-inflammatory foods and followed them over an average of three years.
Those following an anti-inflammatory diet consumed about 20 servings of fruit, 19 servings of vegetables, four servings of legumes, and 11 cups of coffee or tea in an average week.
Compared to this group, those with the lowest anti-inflammatory diet were three times more likely to develop dementia.
Dr Nikolaos Skarmes, senior author of the study from Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece, said: ‘These findings suggest that people can protect their brains by eating more healthily.
A study ranked the diets of more than 1,000 older adults for anti-inflammatory foods and followed them over an average of three years. Those following an anti-inflammatory diet consumed about 20 servings of fruit, 19 servings of vegetables, four servings of legumes, and 11 cups of coffee or tea in an average week. Compared to this group, those with the lowest anti-inflammatory diet were three times more likely to develop dementia
What is dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions that affect the brain.
There are many different types of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease.
Some people may have a combination of dementias.
No matter what type is diagnosed, each person will experience dementia in their own unique way.
Dementia is a global concern, but it often appears in wealthier countries, where people are more likely to live to old age.
How many people are affected?
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that there are more than 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, of whom more than 500,000 have Alzheimer’s disease.
It is estimated that by 2025 the number of people living with dementia in the UK will rise to more than 1 million.
In the United States, it is estimated that there are 5.5 million people with Alzheimer’s disease. A similar percentage is expected to rise in the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, the risk of developing dementia increases.
Diagnosis rates are improving, but it is believed that many people with dementia remain undiagnosed.
Is there a cure?
Currently there is no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow its progression, and the sooner it’s caught, the more effective treatments will be.
Source: Dementia in the UK
Since people can change their diet, they may want to consider eating anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits and vegetables and avoiding more inflammatory options such as high-calorie foods.
“But more research is needed before specific dietary advice can be given, as this was not a clinical trial that provides clear evidence.”
The study, published in the journal Neurology, analyzed the diets of people aged 65 and over, based on questionnaires they filled out about what they had eaten in the past month.
These foods included fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish, sweets, alcohol, and legumes, which include beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils.
Of the 1,059 study participants, 62, or six percent, developed dementia.
To find out who was more likely to have it, researchers divided people into three groups based on their answers to food questionnaires.
These included a third of people following a more anti-inflammatory diet, those following a medium-sized diet, and a third following a lower anti-inflammatory diet.
Those with the lowest anti-inflammatory eating habits, who were three times more likely to develop dementia, ate only about nine pieces of fruit, 10 servings of vegetables, two servings of legumes and nine cups of coffee or tea during an average week.
Questionnaires were used to calculate subjects’ nutrient intake scores, which ranged from negative 8.87 for the most anti-inflammatory diet to at least 7.98.
Higher scores indicated a worse diet, and the results showed that people who developed dementia had a score of 0.64 points higher than people who did not develop it.
The study authors took into account people’s age, since people are more likely to develop dementia in later years, their gender, because women are more at risk, and their education levels, as people who are more educated are less likely to develop dementia.
Even after accounting for these, every one-point increase in the inflammatory score of someone’s diet was associated with a 21 percent higher risk of developing dementia.
Some previous studies have found that people who follow a more inflammatory diet have poorer memory and cognitive decline at a younger age.