Healthy eating is not an extreme diet, or an overload of some particular nutrient. Healthy eating is daily making better choices to include more fresh fruits and veggies and less sugar and processed foods. It is the long term, overall ratio that determines your health. If you worry about developing dementia or memory loss in old age, the time to do something about it is right now. No matter what your age, get started on a basic healthy eating plan.
A new study, published online in Neurology, found that eating healthfully is the best way to preserve memory and mental sharpness as you age. The study followed almost 28,000 adults aged 55 and older from 40 different countries. Researchers rated participants’ diets over five years, giving higher points for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and lower points for red meat and processed foods.
The Study Results Were Striking
The healthiest eaters were 24% less likely to have cognitive decline (memory loss, reasoning ability); those with the worst diets were most likely to have cognitive decline.
The “healthy eating” scale used by researchers had fruits and vegetables at the healthiest end of the scale and red meat and deep-fried foods at the unhealthiest end.
There Was No Magic Ingredient
The researchers from McMaster University determined that there wasn’t one magic food or ingredient, but that it was eating a healthier diet overall. Study author, Professor Andrew Smyth, told Forbes:
“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.”