ghee. hamburger. sausage. Store-bought pastries, cakes, and cookies. Oh, and soda — sugar or diet.
They’re all bad and they all increase your risk of dementia — a lot.
So reports to one of the largest and scariest studies ever conducted, involving nearly 60,000 people in their 40s, 50s and 60s. The study, which included a massive number of people in a long-running British health survey known as the UK Biobank, tracked what people usually ate and who ended up with dementia.
People who scored in the last third of the diet schedule were 30% more likely to develop dementia. within nine years of those in the upper third.
Technically, the study was about the effects of the so-called “Mediterranean Diet,” which is usually described in the media as a TV movie version of an Italian family dinner: fresh fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, olive oil — and wine.
But the way the study worked, the researchers measured two things: how often the participants ate these “Mediterranean” type foods, and also how often they ate… well, the stuff we see all around us, especially in the states United States of America. other than the Mediterranean foods.
For example, one of the main questionnaires used in the study was the so-called “Mediterranean Diet Adherence Examination,” which has become a standard tool for researchers in this field. (Another study recently confirmed this.)
This screening is a simple questionnaire. You can get it here, and print it out and stick it on the fridge and it might just be the simplest family health hack anyone can do.
There are 14 questions: you get a point for each question you can check at the end of the week.
Do you cook with olive oil instead of butter? Give yourself a point.
Do you consume more than 4 tablespoons of olive oil per day? Give yourself another point.
Do you eat more than 400 grams of fresh vegetables a day or more than three pieces of fruit? Give yourself a point for each.
You will also get points if you hit the targets when you eat enough fish, nuts, legumes and dishes with the famous Italian red sauce, with onions and garlic. (Basil is not mentioned, unfortunately).
So these are the “good” foods.
(You also get a point if you consume “more than 7 glasses of wine” per week. Best wishes!)
But… you also get points for avoiding the bad foods: namely, the aforementioned things, like crackers, red meat, and soda.
The latest study was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal BMC Medicine.
Several previous studies have found an association between those who eat a healthy Mediterranean diet, lower rates of cognitive decline with age, and a lower risk of dementia. Although no diet is perfect, the Mediterranean diet turns out to be a winner, or a winner, in study after study. The Cleveland Clinic reports that this diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases, and helps us live longer.
Meanwhile, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that about 2% of Americans ages 65 to 69 have dementia, with the rate roughly doubling with every five years of your life. It is reported that about a third of those over the age of 90 suffer from dementia.