Research from Columbia University Medical Center in New York shows that a simple change of diet may lead to Alzheimer’s patients leading a longer life. The study shows that patients who adhere to a more Mediterranean diet rather than a traditional Western diet, tend to live longer.
During the study, they followed 192 Alzheimer’s patients, all living in New York, for an average of four and half years. Over the course of the study, 85 of the patients passed away.
The results showed that those who most carefully stuck to a Mediterranean diet were 76% less likely to die that those who least followed the diet.
More exactly, Alzheimer’s patients who stuck to the diet moderately live on average 1.3 years longer than those who stuck to the diet the least. And those who really religiously stuck to the diet lived 4 years longer.
The same researchers had done a previous study and the results of that one were that healthy people who ate a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of ever developing Alzheimer’s in the first place.
A Mediterranean diet is not really all that hard to follow. It consists of a large volume of vegetables, legumes such as peas and beans, fruits, cereals-not the sugar coated ones- fish and monounsaturated fatty acids which are found in nuts and avocados, olive oil- oleic acid- grapeseed oil, ground nut oil, peanut oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil and corn oil and a mild to moderate amount of alcohol. What the diet does not have are a lot of saturated fatty acids, dairy products, meat and poultry. Following a diet like this is not only beneficial for Alzheimer’s Patients. Studies have shown that healthy people who do tend to live longer overall than those who do not. You do not have to eliminate things like meat altogether, just reduce their percentage and increase that of the fruits and vegetables. Of course the more you do, the better off your chances are.
The researchers are planing to do further studies to see if the benefits of a Mediterranean diet go beyond an extended life span and also make the quality of life better by slowing down the rates of cognitive decline and enabling them to maintain their daily living skills.
The author of the study is Nikos Scarmeas, MD, MSc, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, and member of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study was funded by grants from the National Institute on Aging and the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University.
source: American Academy of Neurology http://www.aan.com/