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 want to end up with dementia, but to look around in a typical Western restaurant, you’d think nobody gives a damn about what happens later in 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 the modern American specialty, where just one single dish can be over 2,000 calories!
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 profit: sell less food for more money but with a French accent!
Olive Garden’s spicy Alfredo Chicken is 2,800 calories a portion!
3 Diets Tested
An interesting study from Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, published online March 6th, 2019, looked at three different scientifically-recognized diets and evaluated which were best for middle age health and for maintaining cognitive function (thinking and memory skills).
The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy 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 if you live in Spain, Italy or the south of France!
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.
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 seems to be associated with better cognitive performance in middle age. Cognitive abilities include thinking and memory skills as the years go by.
“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 young people (average age of 25), who were then followed for 30 years. The participants’ cognitive function were tested twice, when they were about 50 and 55 years old.
We call this a longitudinal study and these 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 closely followed the Mediterranean diet and the APDQS diet had significantly less 5-year decline in their cognitive function at middle-age. But not so with the DASH diet,
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.
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 avoid dementia and senility.
So forget the Alfredo sauce and the ketchup! A couple of glasses of wine will be far healthier. Go for a side-salad with 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
Doctors like to push the DASH diet and consider it “proven”. But it didn’t work nearly as well as the other two diets!
The DASH diet is a politically-correct diet. It’s supposed to work. They just ignore evidence that it is worthless (or even harmful). 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 subtle 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, the joy-of-living factor that it brings to the table. It lowers stress and teaches us that life is good! Bonhomie is hard nutrient to score but a definite nutrient, nevertheless.
My friend Dr. Stephen Sinatra shares this view.
“One possibility is that DASH does not consider moderate alcohol intake as part of the dietary pattern, whereas the other two diets do,” Dr. McEvoy said. “It’s possible that moderate alcohol consumption as part of a healthy diet could be important for brain health in middle 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