Seniors who stick to the Mediterranean diet may be lowering their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, new research has found.
Those who regularly consume fish in addition to leafy greens, oil, beans, nuts and high fiber — as per the diet — might also be able to tack years off of their own brain age, according to a new study published in Neurology.
In these cases, fewer abnormal protein clumps, which are a red flag for Alzheimer’s, had appeared.
Those over 65 who exhibited consistent healthy eating had a brain age 18 years younger than those who had a fattier diet of burgers and fries.
“This study takes what we know about the link between nutrition and risk for cognitive decline a step further by looking at the specific brain changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease,” Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer’s Association, told US News & World Report.
Mediterranean diets may help in warding off dementia.Getty Images/Image Source
While she did not partake in the study, Snyder added that the results are “intriguing.”
Brain tissue was taken from 581 autopsied brains and analyzed with a score for how well the person’s diet was. Those on the Mediterranean diet — or its close sister the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) tallied the best.
Although experts say there is not concrete proof that the Mediterranean or MIND eating habits wards off dementia, this research furthers evidence that it helps reduce brain age.
The findings also found that the smallest of changes, such as a cup’s worth of leafy greens daily, could show younger brain age by four years compared to those who do not eat foods like kale or spinach. Those who ate seven weekly servings saw a reduction in up to 19 years of brain aging.
This research also “gives us a first view into the mechanisms” as to how eating patterns tie into risk of Alzheimer’s, lead researcher Puja Agarwal said.
Fewer accumulations of brain plaques might be one way diets — known for easing inflammation in the body and protecting cells — help prevent dementia, she said, adding that it’s just too soon to tell how.
Via New York Post