ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More than six million people in the US, 65 and older, have dementia. By 2050, that number is expected to double to nearly 13 million. But a series of new studies reveals you may be able to reduce your dementia risk with the foods you choose to eat. Ivanhoe has the details.

You are what you eat.

Hariom Yadav, PhD, Director USF Center for Microbiome Research says, “The gut influences very heavily the whole body physiology.”

And now new research shows many people may be eating their way to dementia. The main culprit: ultra-processed foods, like fast foods, chips, frozen meals, and sodas. Researchers in Brazil found those who got 20 percent or more of their daily calorie intake from these processed foods had a 28 percent faster rate of cognitive decline than those who ate less processed foods. That means in a standard diet of two thousand calories a day, 400 calories worth of processed foods can cause a lot of damage. But there is good news. 

Hariom Yadav, PhD, explains, “If you eat the right diet, you can reduce that risk.”

You can still eat a lot of unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to combat that risk. A study from Rush University Medical Center found those who closely followed something called the Mind Diet for four and a half years, which focuses on eating mainly vegetables, fish, chicken, and whole grains, reduced their risk for Alzheimer’s by 53 percent. Giving you some food for thought.

Experts say a whopping 58 percent of what Americans eat comes from ultra-processed foods. Even plant-based alternatives, like plant-based meat, are likely still highly processed. So since it may be impossible to cut out processed food entirely, it’s best to focus on adding unprocessed foods instead of cutting out processed foods.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor.