New Study Finds Consuming Popcorn May Reduce Risk of Dementia
A recent study conducted by researchers at Rush University in Chicago has found that eating a pack of popcorn a day may reduce the risk of dementia. The study, which tracked 3,300 people for six years and tested their cognition, revealed that participants who consumed three ounces or more of whole grains, including popcorn, on a daily basis had a smaller reduction in their cognitive scores compared to those who sparingly consumed these foods.
Interestingly, the positive effect of whole grains was only observed in black participants, who made up 60% of the study participants. The lack of similar results among white participants may be due to a smaller sample size or lower consumption of whole grains overall.
Whole grains, such as popcorn, contain high levels of fiber, which slows down sugar absorption into the bloodstream, reducing the risk of dementia. This finding is particularly significant as there are currently over six million Americans living with dementia, a number that is expected to double in the next two decades. Older black adults are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with dementia, possibly due to a higher prevalence of heart disease within this demographic.
The study analyzed data from 3,300 adults who were on average 75 years old and did not have dementia. Participants were asked about their whole grain consumption and completed cognitive and memory tests. Those who consumed three or more servings of whole grains per day exhibited a slower rate of cognitive decline.
Black participants were more likely to consume more whole grains than white participants. Researchers suggest that the potential reduction in dementia risk associated with whole grain consumption could be attributed to regulation of blood sugar and promotion of a healthy gut. However, researchers caution that the study was observational and could not definitively prove a causal relationship between popcorn consumption and dementia risk.
Moreover, factors such as toppings added to popcorn, such as butter and sugar, were not considered in the study and may increase the risk of dementia by promoting obesity. It is important to note that participants self-reported their diets, and no evidence was required to confirm the types of whole grains consumed.
Dr. Xiaoran Liu, the lead researcher, emphasized the potential public health importance of these findings. He suggested that increasing whole grain consumption by a couple of servings a day could lower the risk of dementia. In addition to whole grain consumption, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including sufficient sleep and exercise, may also contribute to reducing the risk of dementia.
Overall, this study sheds light on the potential benefits of incorporating whole grains into one’s diet and highlights the importance of further research in understanding the links between nutrition and brain health.
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