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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > April 2019 > Fed your mind

Fed your mind

DR RUPY’S DIET PLAN TO BEAT DEMENTIA

In his new book, GP Rupy Aujla shares ways to help protect yourself against chronic illnesses through diet. Jo Waters talked to him about foods that could lower your dementia risk

WITH ONE PERSON DEVELOPING

dementia every three minutes in the UK and still no way to treat to it, the health emphasis is currently on persuading us all to reduce our risk factors.

Recent research predicts that over 1.2 million people in England and Wales will be living with dementia by 2040. If you’re in your 40s or 50s now, there’s a high chance you’ll have a parent who is already affected – and for many of us this is a huge incentive to take positive steps to protect ourselves.

Dementia has a far bigger impact on women than men, as more women are living well into their 80s. There are half a million women living with dementia in the UK and it’s now the leading cause of death for women in the UK.

While there some factors you just can’t change, such as genetics (thought to play only a small role in all but rare cases), there are steps you can take to reduce your risk factors. Increasingly, eating a healthy diet is being seen as one of the most important lifestyle changes you can make to protect yourself.

The link with lifestyle

Dr Rupy Aujla, author of new book The Doctor’s Kitchen: Eat to Beat Illness, says as a GP he witnesses the effects of conditions such as dementia and stroke all too often. He says the prevalence of these conditions is increasing.

‘Dementia is now the second leading cause of death in the UK and cases are rising,’ says Rupy. ‘But we shouldn’t assume it’s a natural part of ageing and a consequence of our population living for longer.

‘There’s something in our lifestyle that’s driving this condition,’ he continues. Numerous studies, he says, have demonstrated that the typical Western diet, high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods and salt, can have an adverse effect on brain health, not only raising the risk of heart attack and stroke, but also potentially disrupting the blood-brain barrier (which protects the brain and central nervous system). He says that, in contrast, diets high in polyphenols, the chemicals found in colourful fruit and vegetables, have been shown to reduce oxidative stress.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Want to cut your plastic consumption and get healthier, too? We’ve got 50 easy changes to help you do both. Prepare for the chocolate season with our dietitian’s tips and tweaks on enjoying Easter treats without dreading stepping on the scales. Plus expert advice and recipes from Dr Rupy Aujla on foods to beat dementia. And don’t miss our amazing vegan pavlova!