September 21st is Alzheimer’s World Day and this year’s theme is ‘Faces of dementia’. In this article we will give a short explanation of what is Alzheimer’s, what is dementia and describe how the Mediterranean diet, that is the Mediterranean way of living, cuts the Alzheimer’s risk, helps Alzheimer’s patients live longer, can protect us from Alzheimer’s or lower the risk of ending up with Alzheimer’s.
What is Alzheimer’s
It is a brain disease, as a matter of fact a complex brain disorder, which took its name for the German doctor Alois Alzheimer who was the first physician to diagnose this disorder in the beginning of the 20th century, in 1906. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia which appears mostly in people over 60 years of age. Dementia is a composite word with Latin roots, meaning in simple terms: without brain. Alzheimer’s degenerates the central nervous system and causes to the patients severe memory problems and problems with judgement, thus leading them gradually ‘’without brain’’.
The question that comes to everybody’s mind is whether there is any kind of diet that can prevent Alzheimer’s since we all know that prevention is much more effective than cure.
Mediterranean Diet may protect us against Alzheimer’s
As stated above Alzheimer’s is a brain disaster. Following the Mediterranean diet and consuming Mediterranean food we help our brain stay strong and be resistive to any kind of brain disease. Consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, fish and low-fat dairy products result to a healthier body and brain. Mediterranean diet is known to result to lower cholesterol and low sugar in the blood which in its turn has been found to be linked to the prevention or the slowdown of mild cognitive impairment, which may be the first step towards Alzheimer’s.
Mediterranean Diet lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s
Mediterranean diet reduces the risk for Alzheimer’s by reducing the risk of mild cognitive impairment. It is well known that the mild cognitive impairment is the first symptom, or rather the first step, towards Alzheimer’s. Therefore it can be inferred that Mediterranean diet and the Mediterranean foods lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Mediterranean Diet may help Alzheimer’s patients live longer
Research published in the USA 4 years ago and followed patients for about 5 years has shown that Alzheimer’s patients who followed the Mediterranean diet lived longer than patients who followed the US diet. Researchers have documented those patients who followed the Med diet had 75% less deaths than those who followed their routine US diet. This was explained by the fact that Mediterranean dieters had reduced rates of cognitive decline something which enabled them to live a better life. This study was published in the American Academy’s of Neurology journal in 2007.
Following the Mediterranean diet is not only eating the foods in the Mediterranean diet pyramid but it also means exercising. Exercising is part of the way of living of the Mediterranean dieters. It was found during the research that patients who followed the Med diet and exercised lived longer and better than any other category.
Since 2007 a number of studies were performed, which linked the Mediterranean diet and the way of living, the Mediterranean foods and Mediterranean cuisine, with the Alzheimer’s disease. All of these studies have stated that they cannot prove conclusively that the Med diet fights Alzheimer’s but they have documented evidence that the patients enjoyed a better quality of life. Mediterranean diet is not the panacea but it is certainly a healthy and proven way of living.