Eating and Aging
By Anne M. Rensberger, LICSW
Eating and Aging
I dont know about you, but it is frightening to consider that my memory and my thinking ability may well decline as I age. So, what can we do to keep us sharp in our older years? The Chicago Heath and Aging Project has been tracking older peoples cognitive abilities over time. Harvard has been testing memory and cognitive skills. Whose scores decline? Are there dietary habits that can help your brain as you age?
1. Eat fish two or three times a week Researchers attribute the protective effects of fish on the brain to omega-3 fatty acids. Fish, especially oily types like salmon and tuna, are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain development and normal brain functioning.
2. Limit bad fats Researchers saw a doubling of the risk of Alzheimers disease among those who ate the most saturated fat versus those who ate the least. The risk was almost double among those who ate more than about 1.8 grams of trans fat.
3. Eat leafy greens Regular kale, lettuce, and spinach eaters seemed to have slower cognitive decline compared to those who ate the least.
4. Keep your blood sugar down One study of women showed that the risk of serious cognitive decline was 64% higher in those with blood sugar levels between 100 and 125 and 79% higher with those with blood sugar over 125. The good news is that people with diabetes who take their medicine and follow the proper diet and exercise regimen will help prevent that decline.
5. Exercise regularly The more physically active a person is as they enter their older years, the better they scored on memory tests and the better they maintained their memory.
6. Keep your weight under control Studies have shown that people who are obese in mid-life have increased risk of getting dementia later in life.
If these findings sound familiar it is because they sound just like those recommended to ward off other major diseases. Now is a perfect time to start if you would like to lose weight and follow a nutritious diet.
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