Fish and fruit in the Mediterranean diet offer big brain benefits

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Scientists from University College London and elsewhere found fish and fruit intake in the Mediterranean diet provide major health benefits.

Dementia is a group of thinking and social symptoms that interferes with daily functioning.

Not a specific disease, dementia is a group of conditions characterized by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgment.

Symptoms include forgetfulness, limited social skills, and thinking abilities so impaired that it interferes with daily functioning.

Medication and therapies may help manage symptoms. Some causes are reversible.

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that’s based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.

Plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices, are the foundation of the diet.

Recent studies have found that the Mediterranean diet is linked to better cognition in older adults, slower cognitive decline, and lower risk of dementia.

However, little is known about the contribution of each component of the Mediterranean diet to dementia risk or whether the diet’s effects are due to one or more specific food components.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine whether Mediterranean diet components are linked to all-cause dementia risk.

They used data from the UK Biobank study. Almost 250,000 participants took part in the study from 2006 to 2010and were followed until December 2020.

These people were at least 55 years old, and without dementia before the study.

The researchers used self-reported consumption of food groups, considered part of the Mediterranean diet including fruit, vegetables, processed meat, unprocessed red meat, and unprocessed poultry, fish, cheese, and whole grains.

Information about dementia was confirmed through electronic linkage to primary care records, hospital and mortality records, or self-reports.

During about 11 years of follow-up, the team found moderate fish consumption of between 2.0 and 3.9 times a week was linked to decreased risk of dementia compared to no fish consumption.

Additionally, fruit consumption of between 1.0 and 1.9 servings a day was linked to reduced dementia risk compared to no fruit consumption.

The team says that no other Mediterranean diet components were linked to dementia risk suggesting that fish and fruit consumption may drive the beneficial effects seen from the Mediterranean diet.

Further studies are needed to find out the potential mechanisms of the benefit.

The research was published in Geroscience and conducted by Ivelina Dobreva et al.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and Vitamin B supplements could help reduce dementia risk.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce dementia risk, and Vitamin D deficiency linked to higher dementia risk.

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