After analyzing a survey — “A Longitudinal Study of the Mental and Physical Health of Social Life among Taiwan’s Middle-Aged and Senior Citizens” — released by the Bureau of Health Promotion, which included 4,440 people over the age of 53, Alan Tsai, a professor in the Department of Healthcare Administration at Asia University, found that people eating fruit and vegetables at least five times every week are 23 percent less likely to suffer from cognitive decline four years later, while people who consumed dairy products at least three times per week were 17 percent less likely to suffer from the syndrome than those consuming dairy products less than twice a week.
The analysis also showed that, over a relatively short period of time, ingesting certain foods can lower one’s risk of cognitive decline. People who ate fruit and vegetables at least five times per week were 31 percent less likely to suffer cognitive decline than those only eating them four times per week. People who ate eggs at least three times a week were 19 percent less likely to suffer from the syndrome than those eating eggs only twice a week. Eating beans can also lower one’s risk of cognitive decline by 20 percent, while drinking tea can lower risk by 21 percent.
Absorbing nutrients from your diet is a long-term process. The main reason that eating more fruit, vegetables and dairy products can lower the risk of cognitive decline is because fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of antioxidants, which fight against free radicals. Dairy products, on the other hand, contain vitamin B12, which is crucially important to nervous tissue function and enhances memory and attention as well. However, Tsai says that it is best to limit one’s intake of fruit since they are rich in sugar, and instead eat plenty of leafy dark green vegetables or a diversity of vegetables.
Aside from dietary habits, Tsai also stresses the importance of exercising regularly and having normal living habits, which can also help prevent cognitive decline. He recommends exercising for at least 40 minutes three or four times every week, or at least 150 minutes per week. For seniors especially, he suggests walking more or speed walking to help enhance one’s capacity to move around and to improve the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)