A study led by professors at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens followed roughly 1,000 people in their 70s and examined their food intake.
The research found that the third of volunteers who ate the least of the aforementioned foods were three times more likely to develop dementia over the three years they were tracked for the study compared to the third of volunteers who ate the most of those foods.
The diets consumed by the group who was deemed the most healthy comprised, on average, three servings each of fruit and vegetables each day in addition to four servings of beans or other legumes each week.
Additionally, they consumed around 11 cups of coffee or tea each week.
All of the volunteers lived in Greece and had an average age of 73; none of them had a history of dementia when they started taking part in the study, which was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Over the course of the three years that the research took place, six per cent of volunteers developed dementia.
While the study could not prove cause and effect, it did add to increasing research that suggests eating anti-inflammatory foods are considered to be good for cardiovascular health, which is believed to guard against dementia.
“It’s not that people who exactly eat these amounts are protected,” said Nikolaos Scarmeas of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, who led the study.
“It’s a gradual effect. The more you are eating anti-inflammatory food — the less prone you appear to be to developing dementia.”