Better Diet, Better Mind

Summertime Watermelon and Goat Cheese BitesA recent study published in the journal Neurology, shows a link between a better diet and improved brain function in people over the age of 55. Nearly 28,000 adults over 55 were studied for diet quality and cognitive decline over an average period of 5 years. Cognitive function, thinking, and memory skills were tested at the beginning of the study, around the second year, and the fifth year of the study for comparison. People with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, history of stroke, and peripheral artery disease were eliminated from the study as those conditions could potentially impact cognitive function. Diet quality was measured by asking study participants how often they ate certain foods, such as fish, nuts, fried foods, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, red meat, and eggs.

Researchers at the American Academy of Neurology found that those with the smallest drop in cognitive decline had the healthiest diets. Among those who reported consuming little red meat, moderate amounts of alcohol, and lots of fruits, vegetables, and fish, 13.8% experienced a decline in cognitive function, while those with the least healthy diet had a 18.1% drop in cognitive function. According to these figures, participants with the healthiest diets were 24% less likely to have a drop in thinking and memory skills. Study authors concluded that higher diet quality is associated with reduced risk of cognitive decline.

Now you have more reasons to eat healthier: for your mind and your body. To improve your diet, try replacing at least some of the red meat in your diet with fish, replace fried snack foods with nuts, limit alcoholic beverages, and increase your fruit and vegetable intake.

The above information is provided by Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA, who specializes in advanced laparoscopic surgeries including lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass weight loss surgeries. Dr. Shillingford and his staff are committed to providing his patients with ongoing nutrition education to promote their overall health in addition to their weight loss needs.