Eating an “anti-inflammatory” diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, tea, and coffee could cut the chances of getting dementia by a third. Foods like a cup of tea, morning coffee and fruit, vegetables and legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, all contain healthy plant compounds. They help combat age-related inflammation in the body which can increase the risk of dementia.
A study rated the diet of more than 1,000 older people for anti-inflammatory foods and tracked them over an average of three years. People who consumed the most anti-inflammatory diet consumed around 20 pieces of fruit, 19 servings of vegetables, four servings of legumes and 11 cups of coffee or tea in the average week. Whereas, those with the least anti-inflammatory diet were three times more likely to get dementia.
Dr Nikolaos Scarmeas, senior author of the study from Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece, said, “These findings suggest that people could protect their brains by eating more healthily. As people can change their diets, they might want to think about eating anti-inflammatory foods like fruit and vegetables and avoiding more inflammatory choices like very high-calorie foods.” They added, “But more research is needed before specific dietary advice can be given, as this was not a clinical trial providing clear proof.”
The study said analyses the diets of people aged 65 and over, based on questionnaires they filled out on what they had eaten in the past month. These foods included fruit and vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish, desserts, alcohol, and legumes, which include beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils. Among the 1059 study participants, six per cent or 62 people developed dementia.
Those with the least anti-inflammatory eating habits, who were three times more likely to develop dementia, ate only around nine pieces of fruit, 10 servings of vegetables, two servings of legumes and nine cups of coffee or tea during an average week.