Feed Your Mind with a Healthy Eating Plan
Want to stay slim and smart well into your later years? You know that dieting will help you get to and maintain a healthy weight, but research suggests that weight management may also reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In one study1, obese people were 74% more likely to develop dementia later in life, and overweight people were 35% more likely. High cholesterol and high blood pressure, two other health conditions that sometimes result from failing to follow a healthy eating plan and regularly engage in an exercise routine, have been linked to dementia2 too.
In addition, a study3 by neuroscientists at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, working with female mice (who, like female humans, have a greater incidence of dementia), found that cutting calories from their diets resulted in fewer changes to approximately 900 genes associated with memory and aging of the brain, meaning that lower calorie consumption could slow mental decline that can come with aging. More research is needed to determine if cutting calories can slow brain aging in humans but scientists are optimistic.
There’s also evidence4 that a regular workout plan like Curves can help thinking and memory on a day-to-day basis, both directly and indirectly. By helping to reduce inflammation and insulin resistance and stimulating production of chemicals that support healthy brain cells and the growth of new blood vessels, regular exercise helps keep our bodies working properly overall, which in turn helps keep our mind sharp. And research has suggested that the parts of the brain responsible for memory and thinking are larger in people who regularly engage in a gym workout or other exercise routine than in people who don’t. Plus, a full body workout will boost your mood and promote good sleep, both of which are good for brain health and thus memory and thinking, too.
Experts are also excited by studies that link certain foods to a healthy brain, though it’s unclear what quantities of these “brain foods” are needed as part of a healthy diet for optimal health. The Alzheimer’s Association5 offers these general recommendations:
- Cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol, which clog the arteries.
- Eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains
- Instead of butter, eat healthy, monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil
- Limit intake of red meat
- Serve up fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and halibut, at least twice a week
- Instead of salt, flavor your foods with herbs and spices
Stay committed to your fitness relationship goals and healthy eating plan, and you can help set the stage for a healthy body, a sharp mind, and golden years that will truly shine brilliant.
In the name of a healthy brain, Curves encourages members and other women to become part of Curves Cares, which supports charities and organizations including WomenAgainstAlzheimers.