According to a recent study, eating a traditional Mediterranean-type diet, rich in foods such as seafood, fruit, and nuts, may help reduce the risk of dementia by almost a quarter.

Scientists of Newcastle University analyzed data from more than 60,000 individuals from the UK Biobank. The authors scored individuals based on how closely their diet matched the key features of a Mediterranean one. The participants were followed for almost a decade, during which time there were 882 cases of dementia.

The authors considered each individual’s genetic risk for dementia.

Dr Oliver Shannon, Lecturer in Newcastle University, said: “Dementia impacts the lives of millions of individuals throughout the world, and there are currently limited options for treating this condition. Finding ways to reduce our risk of developing dementia is, therefore, a major priority. Eating a more Mediterranean-like diet could be one strategy to help individuals lower their risk of dementia.”

John Mathers, Professor of Human Nutrition, Newcastle University, said: “The good news from this study is that, even for those with higher genetic risk, having a better diet reduced the likelihood of developing dementia. Although more research is needed in this area, this strengthens the public health message that we can all help to reduce our risk of dementia by eating a more Mediterranean-like diet.”

Source and more information: Shannon, O.M., et al.: Mediterranean diet adherence is associated with lower dementia risk, independent of genetic predisposition: findings from the UK Biobank prospective cohort study. BMC Med 21, 81 (2023).