Study: Increased Consumption Of Fruit, Vegetables,Legumes, Tea And Coffee Cuts Dementia Risk By A Third


NEW YORK (VINnew) — Eating an ‘anti-inflammatory’ diet of fruit, vegetables, tea and coffee could cut the chances of getting dementia by a third, according to a Greek study reported by The Daily Mail.

Tea, coffee, fruit, vegetables and legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, all contain healthy plant compounds which can combat age-related inflammation increasing the risk of dementia, a condition which affects a significant number of elderly people.

The new study tracked the diet of more than 1,000 older people for anti-inflammatory foods over an average of three years.

Those with the most anti-inflammatory diet consumed around 20 pieces of fruit, 19 servings of vegetables, four servings of legumes and 11 cups of coffee or tea in the average week.

Compared to this group, those with the least anti-inflammatory diet were three times more likely to get dementia.

Dr Nikolaos Scarmeas, senior author of the study from Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece, said: ‘These findings suggest that people could protect their brains by eating more healthily.

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions affecting the brain. There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. Some people may have a combination of types of dementia, but each person experiences it in a different way.

It is estimated that the number of people living with dementia in the UK alone will rise to over 1 million by 2025. In the US, it’s estimated there are 5.5 million Alzheimer’s sufferers. A similar rise is expected in the coming years. Wealthier countries with higher longevity have more cases of dementia since the chances of developing the condition increase with age.

At present there is no cure for the condition but new drugs are being developed which can slow it’s progression. However dietary changes can help avoid the foods exacerbating the condition.

Dr Nikolaos Scarmeas, senior author of the study from Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece, said: ‘These findings suggest that people could protect their brains by eating more healthily.

‘As people can change their diets, they might want to think about eating anti-inflammatory foods like fruit and vegetables and avoiding more inflammatory choices like very high-calorie foods.

‘But more research is needed before specific dietary advice can be given, as this was not a clinical trial providing clear proof.’

The study, published in the journal Neurology, analysed the diets of people aged 65 and over, based on questionnaires they filled out on what they had eaten in the past month.

These foods included fruit and vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish, desserts, alcohol, and legumes, which include beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils.

Among the 1,059 study participants, 62 people, or six per cent, developed dementia.

To work out who was more likely to get it, researchers split people into three groups based on their answers from the food questionnaires.

These comprised the third of people with the most anti-inflammatory diet, those with a medium diet and the third with the least anti-inflammatory diet.

Those with the least anti-inflammatory eating habits, who were three times more likely to develop dementia, ate only around nine pieces of fruit, 10 servings of vegetables, two servings of legumes and nine cups of coffee or tea during an average week.

The questionnaires were used to work out scores for people’s nutrient intake, which ranged from minus 8.87 for the most anti-inflammatory diet to 7.98 for the least.

Higher scores indicated a worse diet, and the findings showed people who developed dementia had a score 0.64 points higher than people who did not.

Previous studies have indicated that people with a more inflammatory diet have a poorer memory and develop cognitive decline at a younger age.

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