Forget About That Morning Toast
High Sugar/Carb Intake = 89% Higher Risk of Dementia
Winter blues and comfort cravings may make you reach for cookies, cake, bread, potato chips, French fries, and pasta, but constant caving in to carb cravings for comfort could impair your mental functioning in the long run. A new study recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Research shows that high-carbohydrate diets, gluten-free or not, increase risk of dementia.
Mayo Clinic researchers followed 937 seniors of both genders (average age 80) with assessed neurological exams and periodic food intake assessments. After four years, 21% showed signs of mild cognitive impairment. While previous research found that, in general, too much food may lead to forgetfulness — and excess weight increases your risk of dementia — this study broke down the food components.
Bottom line: Risk of mental decline was 89% higher among those who ate the most carbohydrates (e.g., accounting for at least two-thirds of calories). While those with relatively normal carb intake (50% of calories) showed no increased risk of dementia, those with high protein intake enjoyed a 34% risk reduction.
Some simple points to remember:
- Retain wisdom longer by choosing protein sources wisely: regular consumption of fish is proven to have a variety of health benefits.
- Choose your carbs carefully too: Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals full of vitamins and fiber. Some specific examples: Beets may help increase blood flow to the brain. Leafy and/or cruciferous veggies like cabbage help you maintain mental acuity in later years. Lab research has also linked luteolin — found in green bell peppers, celery and carrots — to reduced inflammation of the brain.
To paraphrase noted food author and educator, Michael Pollan, “Eat food (not products). Not too much. Mostly plants.” And supplement often with plenty of Cybex Arc workouts and circuit training!