A new study from RUSH University in Chicago has found that consuming diets rich in green leafy vegetables, along with other healthy foods like fruits, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, and fish, may lead to fewer signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain.
The study, published in the Neurology journal, examined how closely people followed the MIND and Mediterranean diets.
It found that those who adhered to these diets had fewer amyloid plaques and tau tangles in their brains than those who did not follow such diets.
The Mediterranean diet recommends consuming vegetables, fruit, and three or more servings of fish per week, while the MIND diet prioritizes green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens, along with other vegetables.
The MIND diet also emphasizes berries over other fruit and recommends one or more servings of fish per week. Both diets recommend small amounts of wine.
The study tested 581 participants with an average age of 84 at the time of diet assessment, who agreed to donate their brains after death for dementia research.
The participants completed annual questionnaires asking how much they ate of various food items.
The participants died an average of seven years after the start of the study, and 66% met the criteria for Alzheimer’s disease upon examination after death.
Researchers found that people who adhered to the Mediterranean and MIND diets had fewer amyloid plaques and tau tangles in their brains, which are signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the study only showed an association between following these diets and having fewer Alzheimer’s disease plaques and tangles and did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
The researchers also found that people who ate the highest amounts of green leafy vegetables, or seven or more servings per week, had plaque amounts in their brains corresponding to being almost 19 years younger than people who ate the fewest, with one or fewer servings per week.
The findings suggest that following a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and other healthy foods like fruits, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, and fish may be beneficial for brain health and could help protect cognition as people age.
Future studies are needed to further confirm these findings.
If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about the blood test that can predict dementia, Alzheimer’s 5 years early, and one year of this exercise training may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information about Alzheimer’s, please see recent studies that Coconut oil may help improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s, and results showing strawberries could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The study was conducted by Puja Agarwal et al and published in Neurology.
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