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Diabetes, Dementia Linked

Diabetes Could Increase Risk of Dementia By 60% 

Though the most important risk factors for dementia—age, family history and heredity—can't be changed, there are plenty of ways to help control risk for the disease. A 2016 study published in Diabetes Care examined how having type 2 diabetes may impact dementia risk. 

Researchers reviewed 14 studies (totaling about 2.3 million people worldwide) that looked at the relationship between diabetes and risk of dementia. Analysis revealed having diabetes was linked with a 60% increased risk of developing dementia of any kind. For vascular dementia (a decline in thinking skills caused by blocked or reduced blood flow to the brain), the association was even stronger. Compared with people without diabetes, men with diabetes had a 70% greater risk for developing vascular dementia, compared with a 120% greater risk in women. 

Though we can’t say for sure why these two diseases are linked, it could be that conditions associated with diabetes, including hyperglycemia, inflammation, vascular changes, and insulin resistance, may contribute to the development of dementia. As for the greater risk in women compared with men, it could have to do with hormonal differences between sexes. 

Lowering your risk for diabetes and risk for dementia can be as easy as adding more color to your diet. Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables ensures that your diet is rich in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, helping to keep you healthy and stabilize your blood sugar. Research has shown eating a Mediterranean diet can lower your risk of diabetes by about 18%, and piling your plate with potassium-packed produce could lower risk of diabetic complication by 67%. 

Give fruits and veggies the starring role in your diet by incorporating them in as many snacks and meals as you can. Our Tropi-Grill Salad is a seasonal specialty that combines crisp Romaine lettuce, juicy pineapple, creamy avocado and protein-packed shrimp. 

BONUS: Eat your greens to feed your brain. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found women below the folate RDA of 400 micrograms had two times the risk of mild cognitive impairment or probable dementia. Try spinach, lettuce, artichokes and asparagus.

Published August 1, 2016

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