Cognitive decline doesn’t have to be your fate as you age. According to a recent study, your diet diet pattern is an important factor in helping keep your brain healthy. In this meta review of large-scale (1000+ participants) epidemiologic studies and clinical trials, the authors found that while no single nutritional or dietary factor independently decreased the risk of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s, the Mediterranean and DASH diets did have a significant impact, especially when combined together. In fact, these diet patterns were shown to decrease the risk of cognitive decline by an impressive 33% when compared to a standard American diet. While neither of these diet patterns are exclusively plant-based, they both emphasize the consumption of whole foods including lots of fruits and vegetables, and encourage limiting intakes of processed foods, salt, and sugar.
While some mild changes in our cognitive ability are considered a normal part of aging (e.g., difficulties with attention, multitasking, and memory), the severe cognitive decline found in dementia is not. According to some estimates, approximately 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men develop dementia in the US. Of those who develop dementia, approximately 70% have Alzheimer’s.
So, these healthy diets aren’t just good for your waistline and your gut microbiome —they can also improve your quality of life as you age by helping your brain stay healthy,
Go Deeper: Need some more inspiration for a delicious and longevity-friendly meal? Here are some resources we like to get started on better eating…