Dementia: These common foods can increase your risk

New research suggests eating this food regularly can accelerate the formation of plaques in the brain.

Dementia: These common foods can increase your risk
© Getty/ Peter Dazeley
Dementia: These common foods can increase your risk

There are nearly one million people in the UK living with dementia, with a projected 206,000 more getting the condition this year, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia is a group of diseases that damage the brain resulting in memory loss, confusion, problems with language and understanding, among other symptoms. A new study explores how an improved diet could reduce dementia risk.

Discover our latest podcast

Plaque formation

There is more than enough research in and outside the medical community that support cutting down on the consumption of foods high in cholesterol and fat. This is particularly important if you want to reduce your risk of getting dementia. Doctor Francine Grodstein, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School explained in an article published by that:

We know that's bad for your heart. There is now a lot of evidence that it's also bad for your brain.

The article referenced a study in the Annals of Neurology which points to women’s poor performance on thinking and memory tests after being on high caloric diets including red meat and butter.

Getty/ Westend61

Problematic gene

Experts are yet to reach a consensus on why diets high in saturated and trans fats are linked to poor memory. But a popular theory in the medical community suggests it may have something to do with a gene called apolipoprotein E, or APOE.

This gene is associated with the amount of cholesterol in your blood, and people with a variation of this gene are at greater risk for Alzheimer's disease. Doctor Gad Marshall, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the study said:

About 65 percent of individuals who wind up with dementia due to Alzheimer's disease in their 60s and 70s have that gene.

The jury is still out on the direction connection between diet and dementia, but you’re better off slowing down on the high cholesterol and fatty foods.

Read more:

3 surprising signs you're at risk of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s dementia: Afternoon naps may be an early sign of the disease

Dementia: Commonly prescribed drug has been linked to cognitive decline

These everyday foods can prevent dementia, according to study These everyday foods can prevent dementia, according to study