Text / Zhang Yu, Ke Xian
[NTD, Beijing, April 29, 2022]Dementia is a devastating disease that causes loss of cognition, judgment and memory. A new study from Japan found that a high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of dementia.
20 years of study: The impact of a high-fiber diet on dementia
In a study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience in February, researchers surveyed more than 3,500 people between the ages of 40 and 64: They collected information on their diets 15 years before the survey began, They were then followed up for 20 years.
The long-term study gave a clear result: those who ate the highest amount of dietary fiber had the lowest risk of dementia.
Actually, this is not the only study. Another study, recently published in Frontiers in Immunology, suggests that eating high-fiber foods may delay brain aging by stimulating the production of butyrate, which can help improve memory and reduce inflammation. Fiber also feeds gut bacteria, which strongly influence cognition and mood.
A review in Antioxidants suggests that plant-based foods “have significant beneficial effects on cognitive function.” Both young and old; cognitively normal people, people with mild dementia, and people with severe dementia can benefit from a plant-based diet.
These fibrous foods may help with dementia
There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. This Japanese study shows that soluble fiber in oats and beans is more effective in reducing the risk of dementia.
The researchers speculate that soluble fiber modulates the gut microbiota and helps reduce neuroinflammation that contributes to dementia. A high-fiber diet may also help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and help control blood sugar, further reducing the risk of dementia.
Soluble fiber tastes mostly smooth and sticky. Common foods are:
Grain roots: oats, beans, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkin.
Vegetables: Okra, mushrooms, seaweed, cauliflower, carrots.
Fruits: apples, pears, bananas, kiwi, citrus, melons.
Others: Agar, Konjac, Aiyu.
When people eat plant-based foods that need to be chewed for a long time, they are mostly insoluble fibers, such as green vegetables and whole grains (liang bud rice, ten-grain rice). It increases stool volume, stimulates peristalsis of the large intestine, and facilitates defecation.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day for adults and 21 to 30 grams for those over 50.
Berries are also important in a diet that benefits cognitive health. Blueberries, in particular, contain high amounts of anthocyanins, which have been linked to improved cognitive performance. And strawberries contain a compound called fisetin, which can help improve memory and cognitive performance. People who like strawberries are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t, an influential study found. Blackberries, raspberries and mulberries are also good. ◇
(Transfer from The Epoch Times / Responsible Editor: Zhang Li)
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