Avoid western diet : Mediterranean Diet May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Two newly published studies show that a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains & lean protein may be protective against #Alzheimers disease.
A research team led by Dr. Lisa Mosconi from Weill Cornell Medicine has found differences in brain imaging scans between people who reported eating a Mediterranean diet and those who ate a standard Western diet. A Mediterranean diet is high in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. In contrast, a standard Western diet contains an excess of red meat, saturated fats, and refined sugar. The differences that the research team found may signal early Alzheimer’s disease.
Mediterranean diet may be protective against Alzheimer’s disease
Dr. Lisa Mosconi said, “Our newly published studies show that a Mediterranean diet may be protective against Alzheimer’s disease already in midlife.”
In two studies, published March 23 in BMJ Open and April 16 in Neurology, the investigators showed that diet and insulin resistance directly predicted structural and functional changes in the brain that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s as early as age 30.
The studies found that patients who ate a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein exhibited fewer Alzheimer’s-related changes to their brains than those who ate a Western-style diet, characterized by high intake of red meat, saturated fats and refined sugar and low intake of fiber.
Patients who also had reduced insulin sensitivity are on risk
The Alzheimer’s-related changes were worse in patients who also had reduced insulin sensitivity. These findings may help physicians develop prevention strategies for the neurodegenerative disease.
“There is consensus in the scientific community that we might be able to prevent at least one in every three Alzheimer’s cases by addressing lifestyle factors,” said lead author of both studies Dr. Lisa Mosconi, who was recruited to Weill Cornell Medicine as an associate professor of neuroscience in neurology.
“Our results point us strongly in the direction that diet should be one of those factors.”
The investigators found in the BMJ Open study that Western diet and insulin resistance directly correlated to reduced cortical thickness, or a lowered brain volume. This is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
“People who eat a Western-style diet, their brains are literally shrinking, even in middle age,” Dr. Mosconi said.
“Further, these results accounted for the effects of all other lifestyle factors, indicating that, when people are in their 40s and 50s, diet exerts a stronger influence on Alzheimer’s disease than exercise or intellectual activity do.”
Dr. Lisa Mosconi is Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in Neurology (Interim), Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College
— Lisa Mosconi (@dr_mosconi) May 4, 2018