Dementia risk lowered in people who consumed Mediterranean diet, study finds

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People who adhere to a Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of developing dementia, according to a new study.

Researchers in the U.K. found that people who ate a diet that’s rich in seafood, fruit and nuts had up to a 23% lower risk of dementia compared with people who didn’t eat as much Mediterranean food.

The study looked at UK Biobank data from over 60,000 men and women who were at least 60 years old. Researchers then measured how much they consumed a Mediterranean diet as well as their genetic predisposition to developing dementia. Overall, 882 people developed dementia during the study period.

“The protective effect of this diet against dementia was evident regardless of a person’s genetic risk, and so this is likely to be a beneficial lifestyle choice for people looking to make healthy dietary choices and reduce their risk of dementia,” Dr. Janice Ranson, a senior research fellow at the University of Exeter, told The Guardian.

However, the study authors urged further research into the link between the Mediterranean diet and its ability to overcome the genetic role of dementia, as the finding wasn’t replicated across certain analyses.

They also said this link was evident in only people who reported being British or Irish — as that was the only data available from UK Biobank— so there needed to be additional research into how this link could be found in other ethnic backgrounds.

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