Age-related memory loss is preventable
Dementia rates are rising every year. And every year we get closer to 50, 60, 70, concern around our brain health steps onto stage. It’s our first experience with not being able to find a name, a word, or something else we’ve always been so quick with that brings the issue into focus. And before long we’re laughing at our fading memory, finding that our contemporaries are also experiencing it, and mark it down to the passage of time.
But what if we could actively do something really simply to keep our brains sharp as we age – and at the same time, take care of our heart health and inflammation levels at the same time?
And what if it was as simple as changing the food we put on our plates?
According to research, the Mediterranean diet still trumps all. It’s the healthiest, most-balanced way to eat for optimal health – no matter our age. But recent findings are also ranking it in helping the brain work better as we age! A win for the brain-conscious midlifer!
A team in Scotland led by Jane Corley, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh, tested over 500 people averaging 79 years of age, none showing any signs of dementia. Tests were all cognitive; problem solving, thinking speed, memory and word knowledge. They also ensured an additional MRI of over 350 of the participants for more accuracy.
Then they got to fill out questionnaires on their typical diet over the past year. Those whose eating plan adhered more closely to the Mediterranean diet tended to score better. Whilst not showing cause and effect, the diet was positively associated with memory, verbal ability and visuospatial ability.
The study however, found the diet had no effect on the brain’s structure, as shown on the MRIs.
Lona Sandon, a registered professor of nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas explained why the Mediterranean Diet seems to deliver the goods. Following a Mediterranean diet may lower risk of heart disease and stroke in several ways, especially through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Turns out, the combination of oily fish, vegetables, beans and berries make for a great and healthy brain body guard.
The big question: if you’ve eaten an unhealthy diet for most of your life, is it too late to change to a Mediterranean or any other healthy diet in your 60s or 70s, and will your brain still benefit?
The good news: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE! Plus, it can be delicious and healthy at the same time!
Some further reading you should do in when you need a break
- Read more about the research here.
- And more about the research on its impact of dementia here
- You might also be interested in the world’s oldest living populations and what they do to hit triple digits.