Eating enough fruit and veg lowers risk of memory loss, says a new study

Researchers have found that eating lots of fruit and vegetables can help protect against memory loss [Image: Getty]

We all know that we should be getting our five-a-day - but scientists have found even more reason for us to.

A study has shown that eating plenty of fruit and vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of memory loss.

The research, which also found benefits to brain health from protein-rich foods, discovered the benefits in elderly people.

Scientists studied data from 139,000 older participants and found there were strong links between certain food groups, memory loss and related heart disease or diabetes.

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A large consumption of fruit and vegetables was linked to lower odds of memory loss and its related heart disease, while eating foods high in protein was associated with a better memory.

The study also found the link between food group and memory status varies among different older age groups.

People aged 80 years and over with a low consumption of cereals are at the highest risk of memory loss and heart disease, according to the researcher.

“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,” said Dr Luna Xu, from the University of Technology Sydney.

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Memory loss is one of the main early symptoms for people with dementia - which is the leading cause of death in the UK.

People living with a diagnosis have on average between two and eight related conditions, which may accelerate cognitive and functional impairment.

The most common diseases that occur alongside it are cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension.

Dr Xu added: “The dietary intervention in chronic disease prevention and management, by taking into consideration the fact that older populations often simultaneously deal with multiple chronic conditions, is a real challenge.

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"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."

The research team hope that the study leads to the production of age-specific healthy dietary guidelines.

It comes as it was revealed that dementia is set to double in Europe by 2050.

The condition is an “umbrella term” for disorders that affect brain functioning, leading to memory loss, impaired thinking and mood swings.

An estimated 7.8 million people live with the disorder in the EU, rising to 9.7 million in “European countries represented by Alzheimer’s Europe members”.

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