New Study Shows Mediterranean Diet May Lower Risk Of Dementia

March 20, 2023

… eating a more Mediterranean-like diet could be one strategy to help individuals lower their risk of dementia.

Dr. Oliver Shannon, lecturer in human nutrition and aging at Newcastle University, on the results of a new study further showing the positive impacts of a Mediterranean diet.

Big Picture: Dementia is “a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, and while dementia mostly impacts older adults, it is not a normal part of aging. There is currently no cure for dementia and treatment options remain limited while more than 55 million people around the world have dementia, according to the World Health Organization. In light of this, Dr. Shannon explained, “Finding ways to reduce our risk of developing dementia is, therefore, a major priority for researchers and clinicians.”

Why It Matters: In what is described as one of the biggest studies of its kind, researchers at Newcastle University in England analyzed data from more than 60,000 people ages 60 and older. The participants were followed for an average of nearly a decade; throughout that time, nearly 900 of them developed dementia. Though the researchers noted study limitations, they found that increased adherence to a Mediterranean diet “was associated with lower dementia risk, independent of genetic risk [for dementia] …” Professor of Human Nutrition at Newcastle University and co-author of the study, John Mathers, said, “Although more research is needed in this area, this strengthens the public health message that we can all help to reduce our risk of dementia by eating a more Mediterranean-like diet.”

What Is The Mediterranean Diet? The Harvard Health Blog explains, “The traditional Mediterranean diet is based on foods available in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.” This diet includes plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes, while olive oil is the main source of fat. Fish and poultry are also a part of the dietin low to moderate amounts a few times a week.” Learn more HERE.

Mediterranean diet associated with decreased risk of dementia, study finds (ScienceDaily)

The Study: Mediterranean diet adherence is associated with lower dementia risk, independent of genetic predisposition: findings from the UK Biobank prospective cohort study (BMC Medicine)

A practical guide to the Mediterranean diet (Harvard Health Blog)

A beginner’s guide to the Mediterranean diet – what to eat and what to avoid (Today)

by Jenna Lee,