Yet another study, on top of thousands of others, teaches us that diet is crucial to healthy aging and living long, plus keeping our marbles going. None of us wants to end up with dementia, but to look around in a typical Western restaurant, you’d think nobody gives a damn about what happens in later life!
You see plates of starches and sugar, sauces, dairy shlock and mayo or ketchup, all piled high, as if there was a famine on the way. Big portions are an American specialty, where just one single dish can be over 2,000 calories!
Olive Garden’s spicy Alfredo chicken is 2,800 calories a portion!
The days of nouvelle cuisine (tiny portions) are long gone. It only turns up occasionally these days, chiefly one suspects, in pretentious establishments that want to make more profits: sell less food for more money!
3 Diets Tested
An interesting study from Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, and published online March 6th, 2019, looked and three different scientifically-recognized diets and evaluated which were best for middle age health and for maintain cognitive function (thinking and memory skills).
The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy unsaturated fats, nuts, legumes and fish and limits red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy. It also includes moderate alcohol, usually omitted by propagandists, but essential in my view.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which emphasizes grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, legumes and nuts and limits meat, fish, poultry, total fat, saturated fat, sweets and sodium. No alcohol.
The CARDIA APDQS diet (a priori Diet Quality Score) emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes, low-fat dairy, fish, and moderate alcohol, and limits fried foods, salty snacks, sweets, high-fat dairy and sugar-sweetened soft drinks. A priori just means dietary factors chosen in advance of the study. CARDIA stands for Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.
Their estimation of dairy is purely in terms of the fat content. My long-term readers will know I regard milk as pure poison; yes, even raw milk. It’s an unnatural food and causes cancer, osteoporosis and dementia. So I feel the APDQS is gonna work!
So What Were The Results?
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, moderate in nuts, fish and alcohol and low in meat and full-fat dairy is associated with better cognitive performance in middle age. Cognitive abilities include thinking and memory skills.
“Our findings indicate that maintaining good dietary practices throughout adulthood can help to preserve brain health at midlife” said study author Claire T. McEvoy, PhD, of Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland.
The study involved 2,621 people who were an average age of 25 at the start and were then followed for 30 years. They were asked about their diet at the beginning of the study and again seven and 20 years later. The participants’ cognitive function were tested twice, when they were about 50 and 55 years old.
We call this a longitudinal study and they are much more reliable than demographic surveys. It means researchers are much more likely getting a result that relates to a known cause.
The participants’ dietary patterns were evaluated to see how closely they adhered to three heart-healthy diets. Study participants were then divided into one of three groups – low, medium or high adherence score – based on how closely they followed the diet.
The researchers found that people who followed the Mediterranean diet and the APDQS diet, but not the DASH diet, had significantly less 5-year decline in their cognitive function at middle-age.
In fact people with high adherence to the APDQS diet were 52 percent less likely to have poor thinking skills than people with low adherence to the diet.
Of the 938 people in the high group, 6 percent had poor thinking skills, compared to 32 percent of the 805 people in the low group.
People with high adherence to the Mediterranean diet were 46 percent less likely to have poor thinking skills than people with low adherence to the diet. Of the 868 people in the high group, 9 percent had poor thinking skills, compared to 29 percent of the 798 people in the low group.
Put another way, if you adhere reasonably well to either the Mediterranean diet or the CARDIA APDQS, you are 2 – 5 times more likely to retain your cognitive faculties.
It goes without saying (almost) that these results were adjusted for other factors that could affect cognitive function, such as the level of education, smoking, diabetes and physical activity.
So forget the Alfredo sauce and the ketchup! A couple of glasses of wine will be far healthier. Go for a side-salad light vinaigrette dressing! And have a bowl of fruit, instead of that tempting sugar dessert. It’s good for your heart and good for your brain!
The Failed DASH Diet
According to the researchers, it’s unclear why the DASH diet did not show a link to better thinking skills.
It’s unclear to THEM. But it’s perfectly clear to me: the DASH diet is a politically-correct diet. It’s supposed to work. They just ignore evidence that it is mainly worthless. It’s a “committee” diet, rather than a real researchers plan.
Plus, it doesn’t include any alcohol and I am tired of repeating myself: that moderate wine intake is POSITIVE, health-wise. Not just “OK”, it ADDS health factors.
Moreover, I don’t think it’s got anything to do with resveratrol or antioxidants or any other chemical factor. I think it’s the camaraderie, joy-of-living factor that it brings to the table. It lowers stress and teaches us that life is good! A hard nutrient to score but a definite nutrient, nevertheless.
The researchers joined me in this speculation:
“One possibility is that DASH does not consider moderate alcohol intake as part of the dietary pattern, whereas the other two diets do,” McEvoy said. “It’s possible that moderate alcohol consumption as part of a healthy diet could be important for brain health in middle age, but further research is needed to confirm these findings.”
They always say “further research” when the real answer isn’t popular or isn’t politically correct!
McEvoy continued, “While we don’t yet know the ideal dietary pattern for brain health, changing to a heart-healthy diet could be a relatively easy and effective way to reduce the risk for developing problems with thinking and memory as we age.”
I say yes to that! Cheers!
Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby
The Official Alternative Doctor
“Dietary patterns during adulthood and cognitive performance in midlife” Claire T. McEvoy, Tina Hoang, Stephen Sidney, Lyn M. Steffen, David R. Jacobs, James M.]Shikany, John T. Wilkins, Kristine Yaffe Neurology Mar 2019, 10.1212/WNL.0000000000007243