Eating just one slice of bacon a day halves your risk of developing dementia, study finds.
And the danger increases regardless of other factors, such as a genetic tendency to be affected.
The results, based on the analysis of genetic and health data from 500,000 people, show that eating 25g of processed meat – the equivalent of a rasher – increases the risk of dementia by 44%.
But unprocessed meat, like beef, pork and veal, has been shown to protect against the disease.
Eating just 50g per day reduces the risk by almost a fifth.
Researcher Huifeng Zhang said, “This adds to the growing body of evidence linking the consumption of processed meat to an increased risk of a range of noncommunicable diseases.”
The University of Leeds team looked at the details of the UK Biobank database on Britons aged 40 to 69 between 2006 and 2010.
This included how often they munched on meat products.
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Over an average of eight years, nearly 2,900 cases of dementia, including Azheimer’s disease, have occurred – most often in men.
People with the disease also tended to be less educated, smoke, be overweight, and eat more junk food and fewer fruits and vegetables.
Professor Janet Cade, who oversaw the research, said, “Anything we can do to explore potential risk factors for dementia can help us reduce rates of this debilitating disease.”
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