Mediterranean, DASH Diets May Slow Cognitive Decline
the MPR take:
Can adhering to the Mediterranean or DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diets help slow cognitive decline in elderly patients? A study published in the journal Neurology examined a sample of 826 participants from the Memory and Aging Project, an ongoing cohort study of the elderly in Chicago that began in 1997. Study participants' dietary patterns were analyzed and cognitive function was assessed annually. Those who showed greatest accordance to both the Mediterranean and DASH diets saw a slower rate of cognitive decline. While the mechanism by which these two diets slow cognitive decline is unknown, it is believed that inflammatory processes play a role, since inflammation is thought to contribute greatly to cerebrovascular pathology. Another possibility may be that the foods in both diets, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, tocopherols, thiamin, folate, lutein, vitamin K, and certain polyphenols, provide antioxidant protection which may reduce cognitive decline. Gut bacteria may also play a role; the presence of these foods in the gut may favor bacteria that helps maintain certain factors that are neuroprotective. The authors conclude that given the growing number of aging adults, more research needs to be done to see how food-based approaches can be used to slow neurocognitive decline.
Objectives: We examined whether accordance to the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) and Mediterranean diets is associated with slower cognitive decline in a prospective Chicago cohort study of older persons, the Memory and Aging Project. Dietary scores were computed for accordance to the DASH diet (0-10) and the Mediterranean diet (MedDietScore) (0-55).
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