Eating Veggies Builds Healthier Brains

New studies have shown eating vegetables like broccoli and spinach may help older women retain some memory abilities later on, while avoiding obesity in middle age lowers the risk of later Alzheimer's disease in both sexes.

These results mirror prior evidence that people may help keep their brains healthy by following standard health advice, including things like staying active and keeping cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure under control.

In addition, one of these studies found obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure in middle age each added substantially to the risk of developing Alzheimer's or other dementia later on. Each problem roughly doubled the risk, and study participants with all three traits ran six times the risk of somebody with none of them.

The study measured 1,449 Finns whose body-mass index, which signals obesity, was calculated when they were around 50 years old. When examined an average of 21 years later, 61 had developed dementia, mostly Alzheimer's. Results showed the risk of any dementia or Alzheimer's in particular roughly doubled with a BMI of more than 30 (considered obese), cholesterol of more than 250 or a blood pressure reading in which one of the numbers exceeded 140.

The effect appeared in both sexes, though the obesity factor was slightly stronger in women.

These numbers further support my belief that following the right nutritional plan is one of the most important things you can do to not only put more years into life, but more quality into the years.

Yahoo News July 19, 2004

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