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Changes in Nutrition can Reduce Dementia Risk

Update Date: Feb 22, 2014 09:20 AM EST

Nutrition greatly affects physical and mental health. In recent studies, researchers examined the relationship between nutrition and dementia. According to a new study, changes in one's nutrition could offset the onset of dementia.

For this study, the researchers from Spain focused on the impact of three different diets on people's mental health. The diets were a Mediterranean-style diet with extra-virgin olive oil (MedDiet with EVOO), a Mediterranean-style diet with mixed nuts and a standard low-fat control diet. The low-fat diet is typically recommended for patients with heart disease or dementia. The researchers recruited 522 participants between the ages of 50 and 80 who did not have any heart diseases or dementia at the beginning of the study. They were randomly assigned to one of the three diet groups.

The researchers followed-up on the participants after 6.5 years. They discovered that the participants in the MedDiet with EVOO had the highest cognition scores. The participants in the MedDiet with Nuts also had good cognition scores in comparison to the participants in the last diet group. A MedDiet is a plant-based diet composed of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, and seafood. It is low in diary, meat and processed grains. The researchers reasoned that the food components of a MedDiet provide good amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory plant chemicals that all protect the body from chronic illnesses.

Other studies have also tied a MedDiet to many health benefits. One reported that people who ate a MedDiet tended to have lower blood concentrations of inflammatory markers. These people also had a lower risk of vascular disease, such as hypertension and diabetes.

The article was published in the Journal of Neurology.

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