Iron-rich foods could lower dementia risk
Eating a diet low in iron could raise a person’s risk of dementia, according to new research from the University of California, San Francisco and the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that people with low levels of iron in their blood or anemia had a 41 percent higher chance of the cognitive decline. Eating iron-rich foods, such as red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, shellfish, spinach, lentils, tofu and raisins, can help prevent anemia.
The study analyzed 2,552 adults between the ages of 70 and 79 by giving them memory and thinking tests over an 11-year period. All patients were free of dementia at the start of the study, while 393 had been diagnosed with anemia (445 developed it by the end of the study). The results showed that the patients with anemia were considerably more likely to develop dementia compared with those who were not anemic. The results reflected this higher risk of dementia even after researchers controlled for other factors, including age, sex, race and education.
Anemia is not an uncommon condition--more than 3 million Americans have been diagnosed with it. The most common form – iron deficiency anemia – occurs when the body does not get enough iron for healthy hemoglobin production.