Mediterranean Diet Could Ward Off Dementia

An American expert has said that diet is only part of the picture for Alzheimer’s disease.

“We continue to see the literature revolve around nutrition and diet and what that might mean later in life,” said Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer’s Association.

However, diet is not the only lifestyle factor that could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, she said.

“I think the data continues to evolve and demonstrate that lifestyle interventions are likely beneficial in reducing cognitive decline,” Snyder said.

Other elements of the lifestyle, such as exercise, are also important, she said. It is not yet clear how diet and exercise reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

“I think the key is to really understand what this recipe is because it’s unlikely to be one thing,” Snyder said. “It is more likely that it is a combination and synergy of these behaviors that are most beneficial.”

Snyder noted that these same lifestyle factors help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and even some cancers. “But it is necessary to determine how and what could be most beneficial for each of them,” she added.

“When we look at Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive and cognitive decline, we have consistently found that diets like the Mediterranean diet are associated with lower risk later in life. What they all have in common is that a balanced diet ensures that your brain has the necessary nutrients it needs, ”Snyder said.

“I think what we do know is that what’s good for your heart is good for your brain, so eat a balanced diet,” she says. “There is no right diet, but make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need, as well as being physically active, moving and staying engaged.

The report was published online May 5 in the journal Neurology.

More information

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and diet, consult the Alzheimer’s Association.

SOURCES: Tommaso Ballarini, PhD, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Bonn, Germany; Heather Snyder, PhD, vice-president, medical and scientific relations, Alzheimer’s Association; Neurology, May 5, 2021, online

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