According to the American Academy of Neurology’s most recent study, eating healthy is linked to stronger cognitive health. Their healthy diet included not much red meat, moderate alcohol, and lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts and fish. The study included over 27,860 participants over the age of 55, from 40 different countries, and the participants were studied for an average of five years. However, certain health conditions were excluded at the start of the study, conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or peripheral artery disease, and participants who had experienced stroke or heart disease during the study were no longer followed.
The baseline measure of cognitive health was a thinking and memory skill test at the start of the study, two years into the study, and finally five years from the beginning. Only 14% of those with the healthiest diets showed a decline in thinking and memory while 18% of those with the least healthy diets showed a decline. The numbers for the healthiest diets included 5,687 people, with 782 showing cognitive decline, and 5,459 participants with unhealthy diets, 987 showing a significant cognitive decline. The relative difference from these figures produces 24% lower likelihood of a drop in thinking and memory for people eating well.
However diet in later life is only part of the picture. Study author Dr. Andrew Smyth of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, says “Adoption of a healthy diet probably begins early in life, and a healthy diet might also go along with adoption of other healthy behaviors.
In conclusion, “we report that higher diet quality is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. Improved diet quality represents an important potential target for reducing the global burden of cognitive decline.”
For help getting motivated to maintain a healthy diet, contact the Lavanga Group today, to discuss your options.