Rich, plant-based diet linked to reduced dementia risk, study finds

Rich, plant-based diet linked to reduced dementia risk, study finds

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren for CNT #Health

A study has shown a link to a reduced risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in older adults who consume a diet rich in plant-based products.

Australian and Spanish researchers at the Biomarkers and Nutritional Food Metabolomics Research Group of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences of the University of Barcelona (UB) and the CIBER on Frailty and Healthy Aging conducted the long-term study. It occurred over 12 years and included 842 participants over 65 in France.

Findings of the study were published in the peer-reviewed journal, Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

Researchers evaluated the relationship between the metabolism of dietary components, intestinal microbiota, endogenous metabolism and cognitive impairment.

According to the results, there was a protective link between metabolites derived from cocoa, coffee, mushrooms and red wine — polyphenol-rich foods — and cognitive impairment in the older adults. Other polyphenol-rich foods include apple, green tea and blueberries.

Scientists evaluated plasma samples. They indicated that some metabolites are associated with the progression of cognitive impairment and dementia.

“For example, 2-furoylglycine and 3-methylanthine, which are biomarkers of coffee and cocoa consumption, had a protective profile, while saccharin — derived from the consumption of artificial sweeteners — is associated with a damaging role,” said study lead Cristina Andrés-Lacueva, professor Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences in a press release. Andrés-Lacueva is also head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional Metabolomics of Food Research Group of the UB and the Biomedical Research Network Center in Frailty and Healthy Aging.

“The study of the relationship between cognitive impairment, the metabolism of the microbiota and food and endogenous metabolism is essential to develop preventive and therapeutic strategies that help to take care of our cognitive health,” said Mercè Pallàs, professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences and member of the Institute of Neurosciences (UBNeuro) of UB.

Lifestyle and diet changes are good strategies to prevent cognitive decline and the progression of dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“A higher intake of fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods provides polyphenols and other bioactive compounds that could help reduce the risk of cognitive decline due to aging,” Andrés-Lacueva said.

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By Troy Warren

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