Even you have a bowl of homemade granola for breakfast or a fresh avocado toast for brunch in your midlife, and it still does not prevent you from developing dementia at a later stage of your life, a new study says.
The research team from University Research and Hospital Center of Montpellier in France, studied 8,255 adults over 25 years to find out which ones developed dementia, and to try to link it with the foods they ate. The scientists published their outcomes in the journal JAMA.
Between 1991 and 1993, the research team recruited 8,255 participants with an average age of 50 and healthy brains. At the start of the project, all the respondents filled in a detailed questionnaire on their eating habits. They completed it again twice more, five and ten years after the launch of the study. The team used information about their eating habits to define how healthy their diets were.
The scientists excluded from the experiment the people with extreme eating regimes, i.e., those with either very high or very low calories intake to avoid the results become skewed.
The researchers labeled as healthy the diets rich on fish, fruits, and vegetables. They categorized as Western-type of diet the ones that ate predominantly fried or processed foods, as well as fat dairy products and refined grains.
In the next 25 years, 344 out of 8,255 participants had developed dementia. Therefore, the authors concluded that eating habits during midlife could not be significantly associated with the potential risk of dementia at a later stage of life.
However, the research team strongly recommended not to take the study outcome as a green light to eat unhealthy foods, pointing out that what is good for the body is also useful for the brain.
The long-term study is the latest attempt by scientists to increase their knowledge of dementia, which despite the medical advancement in recent decades, remains a little-understood syndrome.
More than 50 million people worldwide have dementia, with Alzheimer's disease being the most condition. According to the US Alzheimer's Association, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. The life-threatening condition kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer taken together.
Both scientist and medical professionals cannot explain what causes it. In most of the cases, they are also not sure how to slow or treat it. However, they all agree that prevention is crucial, highlighting the importance of a balanced diet.
What about your diet? Would you define it as healthy?