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Memory problems? Eat fish, vegetables

A new study says a diet rich in fish, omega-3 oils, fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of memory-affecting diseases like dementia, Alzheimer's.

world Updated: Nov 12, 2007 12:08 IST

A diet rich in fish, omega-3 oils, fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of memory-affecting diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's, a new study says.

But consuming omega-6 rich oils could increase the chances of developing memory problems.

Findings of the study have been published in the November issue of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Foods high in omega-3 oil include fish like salmon, sardines, trout and herring, and walnut, flaxseed oil and canola oil. Shrimps, clams, tuna, catfish, cod and spinach also contain omega-3 oil.

Foods rich in omega-6 oil include corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean and cottonseed oil.

For the study, researchers at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research, in Bordeaux, France, examined the diets of 8,085 men and women over the age of 65 who did not have dementia at the beginning of the study.

Over four years of follow-up, 183 of the participants developed Alzheimer's disease and 98 developed another type of dementia.

The study found people who regularly consumed omega-3 rich oils reduced their risk of dementia by 60 per cent.

People who ate fruits and vegetables daily also reduced their risk of dementia by 30 per cent.

The study also found most people who ate fish at least once a week had a 35-per cent lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and 40-per cent lower risk of dementia.

The researchers also found that people who regularly use omega-6 rich oils, but not omega-3 rich oils or fish, were twice as likely to develop dementia.

"While we've identified dietary patterns associated with lowering a person's risk of dementia or Alzheimer's, more research is needed to better understand the mechanisms of these nutrients involved in these apparently protective foods," the researchers said.