Keep Your Brain Sharp with Healthy Foods
Research suggests that just as regular exercise maintains fitness with age, eating the right foods may protect the aging brain
What our bodies can do at age 50 may not be the same as what they could do at 20. The brain is no exception, but we still have some good news: research suggests that just as regular exercise maintains fitness with age, eating the right foods may protect the aging brain.
Eat well, think better
To study nutrition and brain health, researchers performed a long-term study over a 13-year period. They first collected diet and thinking (cognitive) function information from 2,135 adults who were 45 to 60 years old. The cognitive function tests included assessment of:
Thirteen years later, the study subjects completed another cognitive function test. The researchers discovered that the more closely a person followed the healthy eating guidelines, the more likely he or she was to maintain good verbal memory and skill. The healthy eaters also maintained better executive function, which is the ability to organize thoughts and activities, prioritize tasks, manage time, and make decisions.
While this study does not prove cause and effect, it suggests that choosing the right foods may nurture our noggins as we age. Put brain-healthy eating front and center in your life with the following tips.
(Am J Clin Nutr 2010; published online ahead of print)
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.