Mind & Body

Plant-Based Diet Reduces Risk of Cognitive Decline

A new study found clear associations between eating certain foods and brain health
TIMEDecember 29, 2021

A new study has found that elderly people who consume a plant-based diet have a reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia. The research was published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research and was carried out over 12 years with the participation of 842 people from France who were over the age of 65.

The study analyzed the relationship between the metabolism of dietary components, endogenous metabolism, intestinal microbiota, and cognitive impairment. Researchers examined the role of diet in the risk of suffering cognitive impairment. They examined plasma samples, which indicated that some metabolites were related to cognitive impairment and dementia progression while some were protective.

There was a protective association between metabolites derived from cocoa, mushrooms, red wine, and microbial metabolism of polyphenol-rich foods such as apple, green tea, blueberries, and pomegranates. That means these foods reduced the risk of cognitive impairment in the elderly.

Meanwhile, saccharin, a common ingredient in artificial sweeteners, was associated with a greater risk of cognitive decline.

Professor Cristina Andrés-Lacueva concluded, “A higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods provides polyphenols and other bioactive compounds that could help reduce the risk of cognitive decline due to aging.”

Lifestyle Changes

With an aging population and a growing risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, it’s vital to find ways to reduce the risk. With simple lifestyle changes, dementia and other debilitating mental health issues could be prevented or symptoms reduced.

Many experts believe that following a Mediterranean lifestyle may help treat and prevent cognitive decline.

The Mediterranean diet, known for its emphasis on vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, was previously associated with an almost 45 to 50 percent reduced risk of cognitive decline.

In short, a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables is a great way to help keep your brain healthy.

Sarah Cownley earned a diploma in nutritional therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London. She enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. This article was originally published on Bel Marra Health.

Sarah has a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England, and enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press.