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Mediterranean-style diet has a lot of benefits, but does it help preventing dementia?

Posted June 30, 2019

The risk of dementia depends on many factors. However, most of us are most likely to experience its symptoms sooner or later. With ageing population we will have more and more elderly, who will need constant care due to debilitating effects of dementia. Scientists are constantly looking for ways to reduce the risk of dementia. Mediterranean-style diet and being more physically active could do the trick, but scientists have to check.

Mediterranean-style diet is rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, wholegrain cereals and fish. It is also improved with wine and olive oil. Image credit: G.steph.rocket via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Mediterranean-style diet is actually quite popular. Mediterranean restaurants are never short on customers and responses are always great. It is because people love the flavourful meals and fresh products. A Mediterranean-style diet is rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, wholegrain cereals and fish. Meanwhile, cheese is still used, but not so widely and red meat and confectionary are included moderately. Of course, Mediterranean region is also famous for its wines that are consumed with every meal and olive oil drizzled over everything.

Mediterranean-style diet is said to improve heart function and increase longevity. Together with copious amounts of sun, it helps people maintaining a positive outlook towards life. And it is also mighty delicious. But if it helps people live longer, does it mean it also helps combating dementia? Well, we don’t quite know.

Scientists from the Newcastle University will attempt to change the diet and exercise habits of 60 people aged between 55 and 74 years old, over a 24-week period. Participants cannot have diagnosed dementia, but it is ok if they are noticing some decline in their memory. Of course, changing the diet is not going to be enough for this study. It will also involve cognitive tests, an MRI brain scan, blood samples, physical activity monitoring and even some group sessions.

Dementia is a debilitating condition, having a significant impact on patients’ quality of life. John Mathers, lead author of this coming study, said: “Although there are some drugs to help treat the symptoms of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia, there are no treatments that can stop or slow the spread of these diseases through the brain. That’s why it’s so important that we look at preventative measures”.

You should include more Mediterranean-style diet in your everyday life anyway. It is just a better food to eat. You will live longer, you will be happier and healthier and it is very likely that you will reduce your risk of developing dementia. There really are no negatives.


Source: Newcastle University

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