The Alzheimer diseasemain cause of dementia both in Spain and in the rest of the developed world, it continues to be a pending issue for modern medicine. Its origin is still not completely clear, but little by little the factors of Lifestyle that protect against dementia.
In that aspect, the diet has been shown to be a key factor to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and in case of suffering it, of improve at least in a way some symptoms of dementia. According to a new study published in the journal Neurologythere would be two dietary patterns in particular that have been shown to be protective factors: mind diet and the Mediterranean diet.
According to this new work, the fact of carrying out a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, olive oil, nuts and seeds would be associated with a lower risk of accumulating amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain, two characteristic signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
(Dr. Isabel Güell, neurologist: “The biggest sign of Alzheimer’s is forgetting common names”)
For this paper, Puja Agarwal’s team at RUSH University in Chicago analyzed the potential benefits of both diets. Although they are similar, the Mediterranean diet prescribes the consumption of fruits and vegetables, plus three or more servings of fish per week. However, MIND, developed specifically as a therapeutic accompaniment for neurodegenerative diseasesprioritize the green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and other vegetables.
Likewise, the MIND also prioritizes the consumption of berries -blueberries, currants- over other fruits for their antioxidant power, and recommends one or more servings of fish a week. In both cases, both MIND and Mediterranean continue to allow small amounts of wine on a weekly basis.
For the study, we analyzed 581 people with an average age of 84 years. All agreed to donate their brains to science at death to advance dementia research. They completed annual questionnaires, answering about the foods they ate according to various categories.
Participants died an average of seven years after the start of the study. Just before dying, 39% of them had been diagnosed dementia. But, after the postmortem brain analysisit was discovered that the 66% of these met criteria for Alzheimer’s disease.
Using autopsies, the researchers examined the brains of the participants for the accumulation of amyloid and tau. Both pathological proteins They are found in the brains of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but it is also possible to detect them in elderly and cognitively healthy people. Subsequently, the researchers reviewed the dietary questionnaires, and ranked the quality of each person’s diet:
– For the Mediterranean diet, there were 11 food categories. Participants received a score from 0 to 55, the higher the better adherence to the diet in the following categories: consumption of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, fish and potatoes. They received lower scores if they ate red meat and full-fat dairy products.
– For the mind diet, there were 15 food categories. Participants received a score from 0 to 15, with one point for each of ten brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, and olive oil. They lost one point if they ate red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, fried foods and fast food.
Subsequently, they divided the participants into three groups for each diet, and compared the taller (healthier) groups with the shorter (less healthy) groups. For the Mediterranean diet, people in the highest group had a mean score of 35while at the other end was 26. For the MIND diet, the best group got an average of 9and the worst, a average of 6.
After adjusting for age at death along with other factors such as gender, education, total caloric intake, and having the APOE4 gene, associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s, the researchers determined that people with higher scores in adherence to the Mediterranean diet had average amounts of amyloid plaques and tau tangles equivalent to people with 18 years lesscompared to people who had lower scores.
On the other hand, people with a higher adherence score to the MIND diet presented pathological proteins similar to brains 12 years younger compared to people with lower scores. And for each additional point of adherence to this diet, it was calculated that their brains ‘rejuvenated’ 4.25 years.
By taking into account individual components of the dietit was observed that the people who consumed more green leafy vegetables -seven or more servings per week – had amounts of brain plaques equivalent to those of people who were 19 years younger than people who ate the least amount of these vegetables.
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