A recent analysis showed that eating healthy over the years would better affect our brains, as we grow older. According to the new research from McMaster University, people from all over the world who followed a Mediterranean-style diet in middle age had a decreased risk of mental degeneration as they age. This formula did not contain any supernatural food and the study did not try to find one: it is a combination of things.
This survey took into consideration the health and habits of almost 28,000 people, 55 and over, who were participating in two international studies across 40 countries. It rated how healthy each person’s diet was in general, By healthy we mean meals consisting of higher quantities of vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, soy products, and reasonable alcohol consumption and by unhealthy, we mean items like red meat, deep-fried foods, and sweets.
At the end of the five-year study, 4,700 people had started to face mental deterioration. Of the 5,700 people with the healthiest diets, 14% had shown cognitive decline. In addition, of the 5,460 people with the least healthy diets, about 18% of them went through cognitive decline.
The results revealed that it is about a 24% decrease in risk for the healthy-diet-keepers. In addition, if we extrapolate to the millions of Americans who face cognitive decline without dementia (a number over 5 million), changing the way of eating can save many people from developing it.
Nevertheless, it is not any one food that helps protect the brain but it is the whole combination of foods mixed together. For the study author Andrew Smyth, “the consumption of ‘healthy’ choices may be beneficial, but the effect may be lost/reduced with the consumption of ‘unhealthy’ choices. For example, the beneficial effect of fruit may be lost if prepared with high amounts of fats or sugars. Our data suggest that an overall healthy diet is more important than the consumption of any one particular food.”
That means you cannot eat a healthy dish on lunch and an unhealthy one for dinner.
Furthermore, this study is not the first one to associate the Mediterranean-style diet to reduced cognitive decline. Others have also linked similar diets to reduced risk of cognitive decline, and even of developing dementia.
Moreover, this research does not only link the way of eating to the risks of cognitive decline, but it also associates it to the way of living. For instance, physical activity is one factor that affects how the brain age. Meditation, shown to change the brain, structurally and functionally over time, has also been related to a good brain aging and even to the reduction of mild cognitive impairment. Not to forget the diets, rich in antioxidants and in healthy fats from salmon and olive oil which are excellent for the brain and for overall well-being.
Take care of your brain! It is your most important organ. Feed it well!