A new study has found that a plant-based diet plays a role in preventing cognitive decline. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looks at how diet affects risk of cognitive impairment in Chinese adults.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia plague 5 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the population continues to age, this number will grow. Lifestyle factors including diet, exercise, drugs and alcohol play a role in determining health.
This new study suggests that a plant-based diet, meaning one low in animal-products and high in fruits, whole grains and vegetables lowers the risk of cognitive decline. In the study, some participants followed the “healthful plant-based diet index,” along with five other healthy diets. Research found that those that followed one of the five prescribed diets were 18-33% less likely to develop cognitive issues.
Professor Koh Woon Puay, of National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and the Duke-NUS Medical School, was the principal on the study. Professor Puay said of the findings, “Our study suggests that maintaining a [healthful] dietary pattern is important for the prevention of onset and delay of cognitive impairment. Such a pattern is not about the restriction of a single food item but the composition of an overall pattern that recommends cutting back on red meats, especially if they are processed, and including lots of plant-based foods (vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, whole grains) and fish.”
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