The role of diet in cognitive decline
Recent findings suggest a possible role of diet in age-related cognitive decline, and cognitive impairment of both degenerative (Alzheimer's disease, AD) or vascular origin. In particular, in an older population of Southern Italy with a typical Mediterranean diet, high monounsaturated fatty acids energy intake appeared to be associated with a high protection against cognitive decline. In addition, dietary fat and energy in older people seem to be risk factors, while fish consumption and cereals are found to reduce the prevalence of AD in the European and North American countries. Moreover, foods with large amounts of aluminium-containing additives or aluminium from drinking water may affect the risk of developing AD. Vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamin B6, B12 and folates, and antioxidant deficiencies (vitamins E and C) could also influence the memory capabilities and have an effect on cognitive decline. Dietary anti-oxidants and supplements and specific macronutrients of the diet may act synergistically with other protective factors opening new possibilities of intervention for cognitive decline.
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