Aug 14, 2013

keeping brain drain at bay

If you need another reason to eat right and exercise, remember this one: These habits will not only keep your body in shape but may also preserve your memory and mental clarity.

Take the oldest diet advice you've ever heard: Eat your vegetables. Researchers at Chicago's Rush Institute for Healthy Aging found that people over 65 who consume about four servings per day slow cognitive decline by 38 percent. The same researchers found that eating fish as infrequently as once a week may lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease by up to 60 percent.

Jogging, swimming, and other forms of aerobic exercise-essential to any disease prevention plan - appear to protect the brain, too. One study of nearly 19,000 women found that the most active participants were the least likely to show signs of memory loss or fuzzy thinking. Studying, reading, and other mental challenges are also linked to a lower risk of dementia. The same is true of coping effectively with emotional stress.

Need further motivation? In a recent study, UCLA researchers asked a group of volunteers to eat healthy diets, exercise, perform brain teasers and memory exercises, and practice stress-reduction techniques. After two weeks, the participants improved their scores on word tests, and MRI scans showed that their brains worked more efficiently. The study's lead author, Gary W. Small, MD, director of the UCLA Center on Aging, concludes, "Living a healthy lifestyle can have an impact." (‘Simple Health Secrets’, by Reader’s Digest)