Continuing our celebration of fruits and vegetables, it turns out that there is a direct correlation between a healthy diet and a healthy braIn.
Days before a first-ever G-8 summit on dementia in London, leading English physicians wrote an open letter to the Health Secretary saying that the benefits of diet far outweighed “dubious drugs” in the battle against dementia. They urged that the best strategy for preventing Alzheimer’s and other memory-affecting diseases was a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil.
The link between diet and healthy brains is not new. Back in 1991 a study at California’s Loma Linda University suggested that meat eaters had double the risk of developing dementia as vegetarians. (No difference was observed between lacto-ovo-vegetarians and vegans.)
Good Diet Key to Regaining Memory
In 2011, researchers from VA’s Puget Sound Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center documented an important link between diet, exercise, and the development of Alzheimers.
According to lead author Laura D. Baker, PhD, for those who are aging normally, regular exercise can help offset the “potential pathological effects of a western-type diet on Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in the brain”. But for adults who have already have an existing condition of mild cognitive impairment, improvement only came when a change in diet was added to the regular exercise routine. Switching to diet low in saturated fats and refined carbohydrates actually improved memory function.
Results in Only 4 Weeks!
The team found that a diet low in saturated fat and high in foods such as whole grains and vegetables could favorably alter the levels of certain markers for Alzheimer’s in only four weeks. This diet improved visual memory not just for older adults with mild levels of Alzheimer’s disease but for healthy older people too.
While these studies have been small in scope, they all lead to the encouraging conclusion that we do not have to wait for a magic drug to appear on the market to protect us from dementia. Instead there are simple life-style changes that we can make today to keep our brains alert and functioning in good order. By favoring regular exercise and a diet of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and by keeping sugar and refined carbohydrates to a minimum, we can reduce the risk of dementia and at the same time significantly increase our level of physical health and well being. Win/win!
To take a free dosha quiz and find out more about what fruits and vegetables create balance for your physiology, visit The Raj website: