Healthy diet 'cuts dementia risk'

More evidence that a diet rich in oily fish and vegetables can reduce the chances of dementia later in life has been uncovered by scientists.

Studies published in US journals suggested that a "Mediterranean diet" or long-term beta-carotene supplements could ward off the illness. Both contain anti-oxidants, which could protect the brain from damage.

The Alzheimer's Society said that most people could cut their risk by eating a healthy diet. The first study, in the journal Neurology, looked at the diets of more than 8,000 healthy men and women aged over 65.

They found that those who regularly ate omega-3 oils, found in some cooking oils and certain types of fish, were far less likely to develop dementia over the following four year period. People who ate fish at least once a week had a 40% lower risk of dementia, while eating fruit and vegetables once a day reduced the risk by 35%.

However, eating other types of cooking oils containing omega-6 - such as sunflower oil - rather than omega-3 doubled the risk.

Dr Pascale Barberger-Gateau, from the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, said: "These results could have considerable implications for public health."

The second study looked at the effects of beta-carotene supplements over an average of 18 years.

Source - BBC

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