Active lifestyle and healthy diet are important to maintain sound heart health. But, did you know that consuming heart-healthy diet may also boost brain health and slow down the development of memory problems? According to a research by the U.S. National Library for Medicine, regular exercising and following a heart-healthy diet such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, may improve heart condition as well as boost memory power. The study was based on the claims made by some experts that the risk factors for heart disease also are risk factors for dementia and late-life cognitive decline and dementia.
The results of the study titled "Exercise and Nutritional Interventions for Cognitive and Cardiovascular Health Enhancement" (or Enlighten for short) were published in the Journal of the - American Geriatrics Society.
Mild cognitive impairment may show symptoms including frequently losing belongings, forgetting events and dates, difficulty in memorising things, and having more trouble coming up with words than other people of same age. The research team suggests that the same diet we follow to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems may also slow cognitive decline in older adults with Cognitive impairment without dementia (CIND).
(Also Read: Foods To Boost Your Memory. Remember To Eat These!)
Heart-healthy diet may improve brain functioning
For the study, the researchers set out to examine the effects of aerobic exercise (also known as "cardio" or "cardiovascular") and the DASH diet on cognitive functioning in older adults with CIND. The team studied 160 adults 55-years-old or older. The study participants were older adults who didn't exercise and had memory problems, difficulty thinking, and making decisions. The participants also had at least one additional risk factor for heart diseases, such as high blood pressure/hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, or other chronic conditions.
The participants were given multiple tests to observe their heart disease risk factors and cognitive ability. The team also kept a close watch on their dietary habits and daily physical routine, for a period of six months.
The results divulged that a balanced combination of exercise and Dash diet improved the ability to think, remember, and make decisions, as compared to people who didn't exercise or follow the diet.