Dr Ornish Publishes Latest Pioneering Research On Plant-Based Diets And Alzheimer’s

A new study has looked at how lifestyle factors impact the progression of Alzheimer's


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Plant-based doctor Dr Dean Ornish giving a talk Dr Dean Ornish has just published new research on plant-based diets - Media Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Eating a healthy plant-based diet along with other lifestyle changes could slow cognitive decline in people with early-stage Alzheimer’s diseases, according to Dr Dean Ornish’s latest pioneering study.

Read more: Plant-Based Diets Rich In Vegetables, Nuts, And Tea Lower Risk Of Parkinson’s, Study Finds

Dr Ornish is a renowned US physician. He is known for his extensive research on the benefits of plant-based diets and their ability to lower disease risk, and reverse or slow existing conditions. He previously conducted a study that found healthy plant-based diets could reverse the progression of prostate cancer, for example.

In his latest study on Alzheimer’s, 51 patients aged between 49 and 90 were split into two groups. Researchers prescribed significant lifestyle interventions to the first group for 20 weeks. The second were given the usual care for early-stage Alzheimer’s. The intervention group ate a minimally processed, whole foods plant-based diet. They did moderate daily exercise along with meditation and gentle yoga to reduce stress. They were also provided with mental health support and group activities aimed at reducing social isolation.

At the end of the trial, the intervention group showed improvement in cognitive function and less progression of the disease. Meanwhile, the control group worsened across all measures. The researchers say that due to the limited sample size further studies should be conducted. But the results indicate that a healthier diet and lifestyle can benefit Alzheimer’s patients.

Lifestyle factors and dementia risk

plant wholefoods
bit24 – stock.adobe.com There is plenty of evidence that eating more plants is good for health

The study aimed to test whether “intensive” and “comprehensive” lifestyle changes could slow the progress of Alzheimer’s. Evidence already show that lifestyle factors, including smoking and no exercise, can raise the risk of developing dementia.

Previous studies have found that moderate lifestyle improvements lower the risk and improve cognitive function. One study found that people who ate lots of vegetables had a 38 percent lower risk of getting dementia than people who ate little. Another showed that women who ate a plant-based diet in their forties were less likely to experience memory loss as they aged. Meanwhile, eating a meat-heavy diet could raise the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases.

Read more: Men On Healthy Plant-Based Diets 22% Less Likely To Develop Bowel Cancer, Study Suggests

Eating more plants has many health benefits, including improving the diversity of bacteria in our guts. In the new study, the intervention group saw a “significant and beneficial” improvement in their gut microbiome. The researchers found an increase in the number of microorganisms associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. They also found a decrease in the number of bacteria linked to a higher risk of the disease.

Having a healthy microbiome has been linked to a range of health benefits. These include helping to regulate weight, improve heart health, and even boosting mental health. Health experts now recommend we aim to eat 30 different kinds of plant foods a week to boost a diverse microbiome.

Read more: Plant-Based Diets Slow Progression Of Prostate Cancer, Study Suggests

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