A Diet for Best Cognitive Health

Everyone I know, patients and friends, are concerned about their cognitive (brain thinking) ability as they get older. "Doc, I'm not as sharp as I used to be and I can't remember names like I used to. Am I getting Alzheimers? What can I do to prevent it?"

A new study just out today in Neurology shows that people who consumed an anti-inflammatory diet that includes more fruits, vegetables, beans and tea or coffee, had a lower risk of developing dementia later in life. Inflammation within the immune system increases as people age and this damages our brain cells. How wonderful that we can combat this by changing our diet.

The study looked at 1,059 people who had an average age of 73 and DID NOT HAVE dementia. These people answered a questionnaire about what they consumed during the previous month, including dairy, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, legumes, fats, alcohol, stimulants and sweets. Fewer servings of fruits, vegetables, beans, tea or coffee was considered inflammatory and a score was made depending upon amounts people ate.

They divided the participants into three equal groups; those with the lowest dietary inflammatory score, medium and highest scores. Those with the lowest score ate a more anti-inflammatory diet. They ate an average per week of 20 fruits, 19 vegetables, 4 beans and legumes and 11 coffee or tea. Those in the group with the highest inflammatory scores ate an average per week of 9 fruits, 10 vegetables, 2 legumes and nine coffee or tea.