At age 65, those who eat a healthy diet are just as intelligent as those at age 63. Cognitive functions also slowly deteriorate in healthy eaters. Greater difference in cognition between older, healthier and unhealthy eaters. This is clear from a study conducted by RIVM among more than three thousand toddlers who have been followed for twenty years.
Estimated 290,000 Dutch people have dementia. Lots of studies Show the link between a healthy lifestyle and cognitive functioning in old age. This integrated study, which has been following the behavior and health of participants for more than 25 years, confirms the hypothesis that a healthy diet is good for the brain.
Room for improvement
Is one of the participants Mediterranean food Continuing, The Five Dutch wheel Or World Health Organization Comments, They scored better on the tests than their peers with a less healthy diet. So you do not have to live in the Mediterranean or follow the Mediterranean diet to stay mentally healthy with a healthy diet. Guidelines for a good diet contain the same ingredients everywhere: lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains, a little saturated fat, a little processed and red meat, and a little salt and sugar.
Do not eat strictly according to healthy group guidelines. They received an average of 80 out of 130 points for healthy eating. “So there is still room for improvement among healthy eaters. The effect is likely to change strongly,” says researcher Monique Versuran.
Not only memory but also the flexibility and speed with which the brain processes information was tested. Furthermore, participants were questioned about diseases and conditions, measured and weighed and they completed questionnaires about their diet.
People with higher education generally eat healthier
Those who are highly educated, physically active, frequent smokers and overweight will generally eat healthier. However, there was a link between diet and cognition even after the researchers filtered out other factors. Among healthy eaters at high risk for genetically determined Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers found higher cognitive gains than average.
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“Most people know that a healthy diet is important to prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Little is known that you can reduce cognitive decline and reduce the risk of aging, ”says Versuran.
Job Seattle, a professor of nutrition and health at VU, also considers this to be the most important message of the research. He was not involved in it, but was one of the first to begin the study of Tudingchem thirty years ago. “It is good to emphasize that there are now dietary guidelines to prevent health problems, but a healthy lifestyle also has a long-term effect.”
When asked about the limitations of this study, he says: “It is epidemiological: you can never exclude all the factors that contribute to unhealthy behavior in large population studies. But in combination with tests that show what happens when the brain eats too much, for example, a healthy lifestyle can have an impact on mental health. ”