Health

New Study Finds Plant-Based Diets Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has published a detailed study on the role of diets in modifying the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The findings show that regimes that include more vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits reduce the chance of developing this terrible neurodegenerative disorder.

According to the paper, more plant-based diets, like the Mediterranean and traditional diets in China, Japan, and India, have been demonstrated to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, contrary to the Western diet. The researchers also found that AD rates are rising in these countries as they adopt Western-style eating habits. 

The review, which also investigates which foods reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, outlines the protective foods against AD: green leafy vegetables, colorful fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, omega-3 fatty acids, and whole grains. On the other hand, it also unveils which foods increase the risk of developing dementia.

Burgers on a grill
© Dolgren-stock.adobe.com

Meat, red meat, and ultra-processed food

According to the findings, saturated fats, meat, red meat such as hamburgers, barbeque, hot dogs, and ultra-processed foods are dementia risk factors.

Meat was found to significantly increase the risk of dementia primarily by contributing to other factors such as inflammation, insulin resistance, oxidative stress, saturated fat, advanced glycation end products, and trimethylamine N-oxide — all correlated with AD. 

Meanwhile, ultra-processed foods can lead to obesity and diabetes, both risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. These products do not contain the anti-inflammatory components and antioxidant ingredients found in whole foods, which lower the risk of dementia, explain the authors.

Furthermore, the paper states that the rise in obesity, fueled by the consumption of meat and highly processed foods, is believed to be the main cause of dementia. In addition, it notes that poverty in the US is a significant driver of Alzheimer’s disease due to the affordability and accessibility of processed foods and meat that promote obesity.

Woman with healthy food shopping spinach Tastewise
©Tastewise.io

Lastly, the authors strongly suggest that adopting a healthier diet can decrease the personal risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast, they say, individuals who continue to eat a Western diet are likely to have a higher risk of AD.

Another recent US study found that vegan diets can improve cardiovascular health within two months — another disease related to meat consumption

“Grant and Blake comprehensively review and synthesize the role of dietary factors in Alzheimer’s disease. Evidence from diverse perspectives support that a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and…de-emphasizes meat, especially red meat, saturated fats, and ultra-processed foods is associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s,” shared  Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard University.

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