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Study Links Healthy Midlife Diet With Reduced Risk of Dementia

While there have been numerous studies examining the connection between single nutrients and the risk of dementia later in life, very few have looked at overall diet. A recent PhD dissertation suggests that following a diet high in saturated fats in midlife may increase the risk of developing dementia by up to 90%.

The thesis examined the data of 2,000 participants who participated in the Finnish Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Incidence of Dementia (CAIDE) study. The participants were between the ages of 39 and 64 at the beginning of the study. At the 14 year follow up point, 1,449 of the participants (now between the ages of 63 and 79) had completed the study.

A healthy diet index was used to look at the link between dietary fats and the risk of dementia. Vegetables, berries, fruits, fish, and unsaturated fats from milk were classified as healthy foods and sausages, eggs, sweets, sugary drinks, salty fish, and saturated fats from milk products and spreads as unhealthy foods.

The researchers found that increased intake of saturated fats was linked with a higher risk of poor cognitive and memory functions, mild cognitive impairment, and increased risk of dementia in those with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, they found that people who drank 3-5 cups of coffee per day were at a lower risk of dementia than people who drank more or less coffee.

This study was a neurology doctoral thesis presented at the University of Eastern Finland by doctoral candidate Marjo Eskelinen.

Previous studies have linked aloe vera supplements, vitamin C and beta-carotene, vitamin B, and vitamin E with combatting the effects or slowing the progression of dementia.

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