A diet rich in fish, omega-3 oils, fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), whereas consuming omega-6 rich oils could increase chances of developing memory problems, according to a study published in the current, issue of Neurology.
For the study, researchers examined the diets of 8,085 men and women over the age of 65 who did not have dementia at the beginning of the study. Over four years of follow-up, 183 of the participants developed Alzheimer’s disease and 98 developed another type of dementia.
The study found people who regularly consumed omega-3 rich oils, such as canola oil, flaxseed oil and walnut oil, reduced their risk of dementia by 60%, compared to people who did not regularly consume such oils. People who ate fruits and vegetables daily also reduced their risk of dementia by 30% compared to those who didn’t regularly eat fruits and vegetables.
The study also found people who ate fish at least once a week had a 35% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and 40% lower risk of dementia, but only if they did not carry the gene that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s, called apolipoprotein E4, or ApoE4.
“Given that most people do not carry the ApoE4 gene, these results could have considerable implications in terms of public health,” notes study author Pascale Barberger-Gateau, PhD.
Neurology – November 13, 2007. www.neurology.org