Study after study applaud the part that healthy eating and exercise play in encouraging healthy aging. Past research highlights that exercise and a balanced diet can boost cognitive well-being among neurologically ill patients as well.
For instance, exercise can help improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. On top of that, a healthy diet such as the MIND diet can prevent cognitive decline. The latest research, however, adds hard numbers of the positive effects of exercising and healthy eating on aging.
How Can Exercise and A Healthy Diet Help?
The latest study appears in the journal Neurology. It dug into the impact of exercising and nutritious eating on aging and learned that both the factors can help slow aging. In fact, senior individuals who show signs of cognitive decline can improve their brain’s condition by eating healthfully and exercising regularly.
Older adults who followed such a plan showed improvements on their cognitive tests. Study lead, James Blumenthal, and his team divided the participant pool of 160 people into four groups. All participants were aged over 55 and showed signs of decline in their thinking skills.
The first group in the investigation participated in an aerobic exercise plan. Participants of the other groups were assigned to a low-sodium diet. The third group was asked to change their diet as well as exercise at the same time. The last group was the control group that was given educational sessions on how to improve the brain health.
The Findings of the Study
As expected, the group that ate healthily and exercised at the same time showed the most improvement in their cognitive tests after a duration of six months. Their test results improved by nine years.
Originally, their thinking skills had declined to that of 90-year-olds. After exercising and eating well, their performance resembled those of 84-year-old people.
The participants in the control group showed a continued decline in their test scores. Plus, the researchers did not note any substantial benefit from either of the groups that changed their diet and exercised alone.
The results show that it is never too late to stick to a healthy diet and exercise well even if you or someone you know has stepped into the zone of cognitive impairment.
Aging comes with a decline in the brain’s performance. This is known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). You can always slow the aging clock though. Dedicate some time to exercise and eat a brain-healthy diet.
These two steps will help you against cognitive decline as this study confirms like previous research before it. Try to add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. You also need antioxidants to fight inflammation, which negatively affects your brain function. The best sources of these free-radical fighting agents are berries.
Furthermore, you can get your omega-3s content from fatty fish and olive oil. If remembering these and other important nutrients gets confusing, you can always follow a diet plan such as the Mediterranean diet or the MIND diet.