But there’s more bad news for meat lovers.
Eating too much red meat can also cause you to start losing your memory by the time you are in your sixties.
By contrast, sticking with a so-called Mediterranean diet, and consuming foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, such as fish, chicken and olive oil, while limiting your consumption of red meat, saturated fats and dairy products, may help you keep your memory and thinking skills sharp as you grow older.
The study, published in the April 30 issue of Neurology, used data from participants enrolled in a nationwide study on stroke, in which researchers gleaned diet information from more than 17,000 Caucasian and African-American men and women whose average age was 64.
Overall, researchers found that people who adhere to a Mediterranean-style diet are 19 percent less likely to encounter problems with their thinking and memory skills by their sixties.
Care2 has brought you several earlier studies that provide evidence of the benefits from the Mediterranean diet, including a lower risk of conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer, but this is the largest study to examine the link between healthy eating and “cognitive functioning” – a group of thinking and memory skills which decline in some people during old age and are a warning sign of dementia.
Since there are no definitive treatments for dementia, it seems like a great idea for all of us to do to whatever we can to delay the onset of symptoms.
If you have spent time with loved ones suffering from dementia, you know what I mean. It is heartbreaking to listen as my 84-year-old mother-in-law, unable to remember anything from minute to minute, repeats the same questions over and over. Worse yet, she is still semi-cognizant of the fact that she is “losing it,” but knows there is nothing she can do about it.
Last year, Care2 reported on a study that indicated a direct link between eating a poor diet loaded with fat, sugars and salt, and developing Alzheimer’s. The evidence pointing to the importance of developing a healthy lifestyle to prevent later problems just keeps mounting.
Dr. Sam Gandy, associate director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in New York City, said this latest study “is further support for the benefit of Mediterranean diet.”
This important paper should be used to guide clinical practice, he suggested.
“The best way to minimize Alzheimer’s disease is with 30-minute sessions three times a week of brisk walking or weight lifting, maximizing mental activity and a Mediterranean diet,” Gandy said.
“This is the best prescription for maintaining of mental function that we have in hand right now,” he said.
What more incentive could there be?
There are no guarantees in life, but following this advice could at least put the odds in your favor.
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