07 Jun Eat Grains, Legumes and Fruit to Prevent Dementia
Did you know that by eating gluten-containing grains, anti-nutrient-containing legumes and fructose-containing fruit you can reduce the risk of developing dementia? Yes, I’m not pulling your leg. Promise. There is a large body of evidence to support it.
It is well documented in the scientific literature that having elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as being overweight, increase one’s chances of developing dementia. So, keeping our cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and weight in check is not only vital for our cardiovascular health, but our mental health too1. Suffice to say, eating well to reduce our risk of developing heart disease and diabetes may also go some way to preserving our mental faculties.
So what is the secret recipe? It’s simply to follow a diet that includes all five food groups – low fat dairy, grains, meat and alternatives, healthy fats, and fruit and vegetables. And also remember to cut back on sweets, pastries, cakes, soft drinks, juices and booze, and to move more.
A list of dietary and lifestyle related guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease was released last year. These were published in the esteemed journal, Neurobiology of Aging. The guidelines include the following advice1:
- Minimise your intake of saturated fats and trans fats – choose lean meats, low fat dairy and keep your intake of pastries and baked goods to a minimum
- Vegetables, legumes, fruits, wholegrains, should replace meats and dairy products as primary staples of the diet
- Vitamin E should come from foods, rather than supplements. Good sources include nuts, seeds, oils, avocado, green leafy vegetables and wholegrains
- Obtaining an appropriate amount of vitamin B12. Good sources include animal sources – meat and dairy
- If consuming multiple vitamins, choose those without iron and copper and consume iron supplements only when directed by your doctor
- Although aluminium’s role in Alzheimer’s disease remains a matter of investigation, those who desire to minimize their exposure can avoid the use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contain aluminium
- Include aerobic exercise in your routine, equivalent to 40 minutes of brisk walking three times per week
Let’s kick dementia in the guts. Here’s to grains, legumes and fruit to lead the fight.
1) Barnard ND, Bush AL, Ceccarelli A, Cooper J, de Jager CA, Erickson KL, Fraser G, Kesler S, Levin SM, Lucey B, Morris CM, Squitti R 2014. Dietary and lifestyle guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiology of Aging 35;2; S-74-78.