While studies in the past have acknowledged the role that specific foods play in mental wellness and the reduction of age induced problems such as dementia, a new study looks at the diet as a whole.
The findings are a strong indicator that what you eat during midlife will have a powerful impact on brain activity, strength and function as you enter your senior years.
Simple summary of the study
A doctoral thesis by Ms. Marjo Eskelinen, MSc, shows the results of a 14-year study on the effects of overall diet and how nutritional choices during middle-aged years influences chances of developing dementia.
The thesis, published at the University of Eastern Finland, is groundbreaking in the sense that previous case studies have looked at how individual foods and even singular nutrients within certain foods can lower the risk of dementia. However, Ms. Eskelinen sought to greatly expand on such findings, recognizing that no single food makes up a person’s daily food intake.
Results of the research
The results of the research confirm yet another benefit to healthy eating habits. Wise dietary choices at midlife (average age of 50) reduces the probability of developing dementia by as much as 90% when compared to those who eat high fat, sugary foods during their middle age years.
A nutritious daily diet consisting of plenty of vegetables, berries and other fruits, as well as the consumption of foods like fish and healthy dairy products, were among the notable similarities in those who maintained better cognitive function as they grew older.
On the opposite end of the scale, the unhealthy diets included generally accepted unhealthy habits like eating sweet and sugary foods, fatty foods, particularly food high in saturated fats and sodium.
In a separate 21-year follow up, results indicated that high saturated fat intake makes a person particularly vulnerable to developing dementia, especially if they have a genetic predisposition to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
A healthy diet decreases risk to those without a potential genetic inheritance, but also shows significant benefit to those with a family history of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
What to do to improve your life
Eat wide variety of healthy foods daily! Avoid high fat, high sugar, highly processed foods as much as you possibly can. Of course, this is obvious. Still, realize that early intervention into your diet is essential. Beginning healthy eating habits in young adulthood and certainly by midlife is an essential ingredient toward the prevention of a multitude of diseases, not just dementia.
Most people understand that you just can’t go wrong by eating a clean, healthy diet. Yet, so many of us falter in our efforts. It is important to mentally register consistent poor eating habits as an act of self-sabotage.
For example, when you know you are overdoing the junk food, say to yourself, “By eating this, I am engaging in a blatant act of self-sabotage.” Own it. Then, begin to wonder why you are knowingly doing something harmful to yourself; something that may deliver temporary pleasure (which is overrated) and certainly will doom you to feeling bad in just a few minutes. Beyond feeling bad in a few minutes, you are headed toward an extended period of misery in your later years.
Even this awareness is not enough for some of us. We seem hell bent on steering our lives toward negative outcomes. Why do we do this? There is a reason. To discover that reason, watch this enlightening and free video about how self-sabotage operates on the subconscious level.