Research shows that memory loss can begin as early as your 20s, and it continues as you age. Thankfully, taking a few easy steps throughout your day can help you stay sharp. When you eat a heart-healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, you reduce your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, all of which are believed to contribute to memory loss.
What are the risk factors for cognitive impairment?
The greatest risk factor associated with cognitive impairment is age, which is followed by genetics, family history, early-adult head injuries and medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol. Your personal, direct primary care physician can monitor your risk for cognitive loss through the Total Wellness Program.
The connection between healthy eating and your memory
In a study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, "women who ate the most saturated fats from foods such as red meat and butter performed worse on tests of thinking and memory than women who ate the lowest amounts of these fats." The reason that diets high in saturated and trans fats lead to poorer memory isn't clear, but the relationship may be because of the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
Here are a few tips to protect your memory as you age:
- Control your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels with diet, exercise, and medicines.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is associated with a significantly higher risk for Alzheimer's disease.
- Exercising three or more times a week has been linked to lower risks for dementia.
Work with your doctor to keep your weight in a healthy range for your height. If you have questions about diet and exercise and seek longer appointment times to get your questions answered than consider the convenience of direct primary care. Your personal care doctor is available for you to take your call 24/7 to deal with any concerns you may have.
Foods That May Help Save Your Memory
Saturated fats and trans fats are the enemy when it comes to memory protection. Mono and polyunsaturated fats are the heroes in the dietary battle to preserve memory. One diet in particular, the Mediterranean diet, recommends foods that are high in healthy, unsaturated fats (olive oil, fish, and nuts). These fats have been linked to lower rates of both dementia due to Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
- The Mediterranean diet includes several components that can promote brain health:
- Foods that are high in vitamin E: seeds, nuts, peanut butter, and whole grains.
- Foods that are high in folate: kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli.
- Foods that help rid the body of toxic proteins: blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries
- Fish that are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids: salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Eating more fish often means eating less red meat, which is filled with artery-clogging saturated fats. Omega-3's have been linked to lower levels of beta-amyloid proteins in the blood and can improve vascular health.
Do you need assistance with managing a healthy lifestyle? Do you wish you could spend more time with you doctor? You shoud become a patient of a direct primary care practice. You'll experience better, more personable care along with access to your doctor's cell phone, longer appointments and routine physicals. Make a difference in your health today.