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Mediterranean Diet Key to Dementia Fight – Not Drugs, Doctors Argue

More news on the Mediterranean diet front. A group of leading doctors this month declared the fight against dementia should be focused on the health benefits of eating a Mediterranean diet – not on “dubious” drugs.

Courtesy of Oldways
Courtesy of Oldways

In an open letter to Britain’s health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, they argued that persuading people to eat a Mediterranean diet – rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil – is perhaps the best way to combat dementia.

“Policy makers and the public need to know that such a diet is far more potent than the often dubious benefit of many medications and without side effects,” London cardiologist  Aseem Malhotra said in a statement.

Said Richard Hoffman, one of the authors of the letter and a Mediterranean diet researcher: “The Mediterranean diet is possibly the most effective way of helping to prevent dementias.”

The doctors’ declaration came as dementia experts from the Group of Eight wealthy nations gathered this week in London to map out a new approach to research and treatment of the disease.

Experts from Britain, France, the United States, Italy and Greece signed the letter. They called on governments to funnel more resources into promoting better diet and lifestyles across all age groups.

“Educating all generations, including our children, in the importance of a good diet in maintaining health in old age is a project which will take years, but is absolutely essential,” Simon Poole, a general practitioner who organized the letter, said in a statement.

Currently, no effective treatment exists for dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. A recent review of  the evidence, the doctors noted, showed that nine out of twelve studies found that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was linked to better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.

The doctor’s also noted the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet are likely due to the interaction of the diet’s components, including: the high intake of vegetables, the high intake of unsaturated fats from olive oil and fish, and moderate consumption of wine.

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