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Healthy Living Linked to Higher Brain Function and Delay of Dementia

by Mike Stewart
left and right side of brain

Many people are concerned about their cognitive functioning and would always want to understand whether there is any relationship between life behaviors and brain functioning. According to York University research, healthy living by taking plenty of fruits and vegetables combined with regular workouts leads to better brain functioning for both the young and the elderly.

The research participants, Alina Cohen, Prof. Chris I. Ardern, and Joseph Baker, did research on cross-sectional data of more than 45,000 people between the age of 30 and 80, as depicted in the Canadian Community Health Survey in 2012.

Their research findings pointed out that a majority of the participants with a normal weight or overweight, but not obese, had a better cognitive function by eating at least ten servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Combining these with moderate exercises made it even better.

In this regard, individuals that are involved in physical activity were likely to have a better cognitive function, which is also enhanced through more fruit and vegetable intake. On the other hand, individuals with higher body mass indexes but low vegetable and fruit consumption and fewer exercises were linked to poor brain function.

Healthy lifestyle and cognitive function

The primary concern of this exploration indicated that in order to preserve cognitive function and defer dementia, one needs to hold fast to a sound way of life that focuses on proper dieting comprised of fundamental supplements, consistent workouts, and plenty of cardiovascular profile.

healthy living conceptDue to the ever-increasing cases of obesity and inactivity, Cohen and the group wanted to know whether there is a connection between factors surrounding one’s way of life, such as fruit and vegetable intake and exercises and the decline in cognitive function.

The truth is that there are very few research studies on this aspect for both the young and old.

In his conclusion remark, Cohen pointed out, “It is important that individuals somehow build up a better comprehension of the long term behaviors that may otherwise lead to poorer brain function by applying a life expectancy approach where the youthful and the grownups are contemplated as a whole and whereby risk factors are assessed prior to a dementia analysis”.

Level of education, mentally challenging job, and cognitive abilities

On another account, researchers from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference pointed out that people with more education and a mentally challenging job together with an active social life are better placed in preventing memory problems and improving thinking skills. Such problems are often caused by the consumption of a lot of sugar and processed foods.

The research these scientists undertook focused on diet, educational background, occupational history, and social activity of the participants and compared them with their memory and thinking ability. What was noted is that the participants that took mainly processed western foods were associated with a faster decline in cognitive function.

On the other hand, those that concentrated on consuming only healthy foods together with plenty of fruits and vegetables combined with regular weight loss exercises recorded a higher cognitive function.

Dr. David Reynolds, chief scientific officer of Alzheimer’s Research UK, points out that proper dieting with plenty of fruits and vegetables is likely to better the cognitive function than the typical western diet that is characterized by lots of sugar and fats. With results from the research study, education, job complexity, and social engagement could also influence the health of the brain and its functioning.

dementia and memory lossLoss of memory and thinking problems were previously associated with aging but not anymore; lifestyle factors are also considered as being part of the major contributors to a person’s cognitive decline.

It is important that more research is carried out to understand better the many and varied factors that influence brain health so that the public will be aware of what is needed of them so as to reduce the impact of dementia. The research studies have so far revealed that regular workouts, avoiding alcohol drinking, keeping cholesterol and blood pressure in check can boost the functioning of the brain even in the older adults

Another research at Karolinska Institute reveals that eating a healthy diet may help reduce cognitive decline and help counter the effects of unhealthy dieting on brain functioning such as memory and thinking abilities. According to the researchers, it is evident that the participants in the research study that consumed an unhealthy diet had higher chances of cognitive decline as compared to those that consumed a healthy diet.

The results from examinations undertaken by researchers from time to time reveal the real situation, and they all point to one direction; the MIND diet will effectively slow down the brain from aging by up to 7.5 years!


It is true that cognitive abilities tend to decline with the normal aging process, however, eating a group of specific foods would help slow down the cognitive decline a great deal in both the young and the old.

A research study in the Journal of Public Health points out that higher body mass indexes, less training or inactivity, and reduced intake of vegetables and fruits lead to a decline in cognitive functioning in both young and elderly individuals.

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