(Natural News) As most everyone knows, eating a healthy, well-balanced, GMO- and toxin-free diet is the key to better health, but not everyone is aware that bad dietary habits can cause a host of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
As such, what you eat (and don’t eat) can certainly cut your risk of developing dementia and brain-related disorders as you age, Newsmax Health reported.
Research presented recently at the Alzheimer’s Association International conference in London notes that healthy, older adults who follow a Mediterranean diet that is higher in healthy fats like olive oil and those found in fish, along with vegetables and lean protein, lower their risk of dementia by at least one-third.
“Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around 30 percent to 35 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment during aging,” said Claire McEvoy, of the University of California-San Francisco’s School of Medicine, who was in charge of the new study.
In reaching their findings, McEvoy and her research team tracked and analyzed the eating habits of some 6,000 older Americans whose average age was 68. Scientists found that older subjects who followed the MIND, or Mediterranean, diet suffered far less dementia than those who did not. (Related: The Mediterranean Diet Reduces Mortality From All Causes.)
Researchers noted that the longer individuals stayed on the diet, the more neurological benefit they experienced in terms of higher acuity.
“As with anyone, eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is important for overall health. Proper nutrition is important to keep the body strong and healthy. For a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, poor nutrition may increase behavioral symptoms and cause weight loss,” Dr. Keith Fargo, associate director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association, said in an interview with Newsmax Health.
“That said, regular, nutritious meals may become a challenge for people with dementia. As a person’s cognitive function declines, he or she may become overwhelmed with too many food choices, forget to eat or have difficulty with eating utensils,” he added.
In case you’re not familiar with it, the Mediterranean diet largely consists of plant-based foods, cooking, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fish, with its healthy omega oils, is a staple of the diet.
Other research points to diet-related improvements in mental acuity and in staving off dementia and related illnesses. MIND diet creator Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, analyzed 923 seniors who followed the diet without deviation. She found that more than half — 53 percent — had a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The research adds to a growing body of evidence that the MIND diet can significantly reduce risks of dementia-related illness. Natural News reported in June 2015 that research found the Mediterranean diet led to a 24-percent reduction in the risk of memory loss and inability to think properly:
The five-year-long study on Mediterranean diet and memory was conducted on people age 55 and older. Published in the journal Neurology, the study utilized 27,860 people from 40 different countries. The study’s author was Andrew Smyth of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. The study participants all had a history of either heart disease, stroke, or other peripheral artery disease. Those with recent, acute health conditions were excluded.
The researchers found that participants with the healthiest diets had lower cognitive decline than those who did not eat as cleanly. Of the 27,860 people involved in the study, researchers tracked the 5,687 healthiest eaters and found that they had only a 14 percent memory decline.
Natural News has also reported on research showing that a MIND diet can also reverse metabolic disorders and lower your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.