A researcher from the University of Technology Sydney has discovered a fascinating link between food groups and memory loss and its related diseases, revealing a need for age-specific dietary guidelines.
Studying the data from 139,000 senior Australians, research fellow Dr Luna Xu found a high consumption of fruit and vegetables linked to lower chances of memory loss and its comorbid heart disease. A diet of protein-rich foods was also associated with better memory.
One of the key learnings, Dr Xu says, is that the link between food groups and memory status could vary among different older age groups. Those aged 80 years who consumed less cereals were found to be at the highest risk of memory loss and its comorbid heart disease.
“Our present study implies that the healthy eating suggestions of cereals consumption in the prevention of memory loss and comorbid heart disease for older people may differ compared to other age groups,” says Dr Xu.
Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians. Given the fact that memory loss is one of the key early symptoms of the disease, the study may prove valuable in reducing risk. Studies show people with dementia have between two and eight comorbid conditions, with the most common being cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension.
“To achieve the best outcome for our ageing population, strong scientific evidence that supports effective dietary intervention in preventing and managing co-occurring chronic conditions, is essential,” says Dr Xu.