Diets rich in green leafy vegetables may reduce signs of Alzheimer’s

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Dietary Impact on Alzheimer’s Disease

A recent 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 was published in the Neurology journal.

It examined the correlation between adherence to the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) and Mediterranean diets, and the presence of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Mediterranean and MIND Diets

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and at least three servings of fish per week.

The MIND diet, on the other hand, prioritizes green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens, along with other vegetables.

It also highlights the importance of berries over other fruits and recommends at least one serving of fish per week. Both diets propose the intake of small amounts of wine.

Findings from the Study

The study involved 581 participants with an average age of 84 at the time of diet assessment, all of whom agreed to donate their brains after death for dementia research.

Participants completed annual questionnaires regarding their food intake.

The participants died an average of seven years after the start of the study, and 66% met the criteria for Alzheimer’s disease upon post-mortem examination.

The researchers found that people who adhered to the Mediterranean and MIND diets had fewer amyloid plaques and tau tangles in their brains, signs indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the study only established an association and did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between these diets and the observed outcomes.

Moreover, the study found that those who consumed 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 those who ate the least, with one or fewer servings per week.

Implications and Further Studies

The findings suggest that a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and other healthy foods may be beneficial for brain health and could help protect cognition as people age. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

These results complement other recent research on Alzheimer’s disease, such as studies on blood tests predicting dementia and Alzheimer’s five years in advance and the impact of one year of exercise training on reducing Alzheimer’s risk.

Other studies have also explored the benefits of coconut oil in improving cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients and the potential of strawberries in preventing the disease.

The study was conducted by Puja Agarwal and her team at RUSH University, and the findings were published in the Neurology journal.

If you care about brain health, please read studies about vitamin D deficiency linked to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, and extra-virgin olive oil could boost brain function.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce dementia risk, and strawberries could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
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