Dr Justine Butler
Post published at May 29, 2015

Go veggie to cut dementia risk

Health charity the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation (VVF) says a vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of dementia later in life. Several studies have revealed a lower risk of dementia for vegetarians, a new report may explain why. Research spanning four decades from the US shows that a high cholesterol level in midlife increases the risk of dementia in later years. This landmark study found that a high cholesterol level, of six or above, in midlife increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by nearly 60 per cent. Even borderline cholesterol levels of 5.1 in midlife raised the risk for late-life dementia by 50 per cent. VVF senior health campaigner Dr Justine Butler says: “This is very worrying as although the Government recommends a target cholesterol level of less than five, two out of three adults in the UK have a cholesterol level of five or above. The average level in England for men is 5.5 and for women it is 5.6. “This study emphasises the importance of taking preventative measures in midlife to avoid disease later. The good news is that cholesterol can be modified and managed very simply by changing the diet. It is well-established that vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels and that a vegetarian diet can be used to lower cholesterol. In fact, a plant-based diet high in plant sterols, fibre, nuts and soya protein has been shown to be as effective as a low-saturated fat diet and a statin (cholesterol-lowering medication) for lowering cholesterol levels. The safest way to protect your future health is to go veggie.” The Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation (VVF) can provide all the information you need about how to go veggie and vegan, offering hundreds of nutritious recipes, scientifically-referenced reports, information and advice. Please visit www.vegetarian.org.uk or call 0117 970 5190.

The author
This post was written by Dr Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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