Big pharma and mainstream medicine continue to throw around one drug after another, in a failed attempt to treat cognitive decline. But research has shown for years that simple lifestyle changes can prevent—and actually reverse—cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
In fact, despite what you’ve heard, having dementia doesn’t mean you’re on a relentless, irreversible downhill course. Dementia and cognitive decline can be stopped, corrected and reversed—as I’ve discussed many times before. In fact, I even created a comprehensive Complete Alzheimer’s Cure Protocol detailing the science-backed steps for reversing this supposedly “incurable” disease.
But the science on brain health continues to evolve.
So today, I’ll be sharing a trio of new studies revealing even more advice on what to do—and what not to do—to improve mental function and keep your brain healthy as you age.
The mental health workout that can shave 9 years off your brain’s age
The first study looked at 160 men and women ages 55 or older with mild cognitive impairment and at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.1 Participants were also sedentary, which was defined as exercising less than 30 minutes per week.
Researchers divided the participants into four groups.
The first group walked, biked, or jogged moderately for 45 minutes, three times a week, totaling about 2.5 hours of exercise weekly. And this falls in line with the new, science-backed recommendation for how much exercise you need for maximum health benefits—without risking damage to joints, heart, kidneys, and GI tract. (For more about this, see page 3).
The second group followed the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet (DASH), which includes high-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains, dairy, and meat.
While the DASH diet is advertised as “low salt,” all these foods contain natural amounts of sodium as well as other electrolytes and minerals.
The third group followed the DASH diet and participated in the first group’s exercise routine.
And the fourth group was a “control” that only received health information through phone calls.
Researchers assessed the cognitive function of all four groups by measuring memory and reasoning skills (executive function) at the beginning and end of the six-month study period.
At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that the group that followed the DASH diet AND exercised had a five-point average increase in executive function compared to the other groups.
That’s impressive enough.
But there’s more…
At the start of the study, the executive function of the participants was equivalent to that of 93-year-olds, although their actual chronological ages were, on average, 28 years younger. But following six months of exercise, cognitive functions improved to that of 84-year-olds.
That’s a 9-year improvement. And all it took was moderate exercise for about 2.5 hours a week.
The DASH diet versus the MIND diet
I’d like to offer one caveat to this study. It’s important to know there’s nothing magical about the DASH diet. It’s a decent-enough eating plan, but it’s not one I recommend for optimum health.
Which brings me to another new study on a diet I do recommend. This eating plan combines the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. It’s called the “Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet.
You already know I’m a fan of the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, full-fat dairy, cheese, fish, and healthy fats like olive oil. It’s been shown in various studies to prevent chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, along with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The MIND diet goes even further for cognitive health, focusing on the “brain foods” in the Mediterranean diet—including green leafy vegetables, berries, whole grains, olive oil, and red meat.
In the new study, Australian researchers followed 1,220 men and women, ages 60 and older, for 12 years. At the end of the study, the people whose dietary patterns were most like the MIND diet had a 19 percent reduction in developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia.2
So if you really want to improve your cognitive health, choose a sensible eating plan like the MIND or Mediterranean diet to accompany your moderate exercise routine. And while you’re at it, there’s one more lifestyle factor you may want to address…
Too much TV will rot your brain
The third study I want to share examined the effects of watching too much TV on cognitive function. And it turns out your mother was right…too much TV actually WILL rot your brain.3
British researchers looked at data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which included 3,662 men and women, ages 50 and older.
The participants answered questions about the time they spent watching TV during 2008-2009, and again from 2014-2015. They also completed memory and language fluency tests.
Researchers found that the participants who watched more than 3.5 hours of TV daily had an 8 to 10 percent drop in memory during the six years of the study. But the study participants who watched less TV only experienced a 4 to 5 percent decrease.
Now, you might think that multiple hours of sitting and watching TV contributed to this cognitive decline. But researchers found the effect couldn’t solely be explained by being sedentary.
Instead, they suggested that the paradoxical “alert-passive” nature of TV has direct and detrimental cognitive effects.
In other words, passively sitting while receiving rapidly changing sensory stimulation may wreak havoc with your cognitive reflexes.
Why screen time leads to cognitive decline
When I was child, I recall how FCC Commissioner Newton Minow described television as a “vast wasteland.” And that appears to include wasting your mind. (In fact, an iconic television commercial by the United Negro College Fund stated, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”).
That said, the researchers note there are some benefits to watching a little bit of TV. Some educational programs may be good learning tools. And zoning out in front of the TV can help people relax and lower their stress levels.
But TV viewing also replaces healthier activities that preserve cognitive abilities—even if they’re also sedentary activities.
Overall, I think it’s better for your brain to do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle, or play a board game like chess or checkers, while interacting socially with another human being.
Of course, this is only one of the natural approaches I recommend to keep your brain healthy as you age. To learn about all of the simple and effective steps you can take to prevent, and even reverse Alzheimer’s and dementia, check out my Complete Alzheimer’s Cure Protocol. Readers can enroll in this innovative online learning course by clicking here or calling 1-866-747-9421 and asking for order code EOV3V601.
1“Lifestyle and neurocognition in older adults with cognitive impairments: A randomized trial.” Neurology Jan 2019, 92 (3) e212-e223.
2“MIND not Mediterranean diet related to 12-year incidence of cognitive impairment in an Australian longitudinal cohort study.” Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association , Volume 15 , Issue 4 , 581 – 589.
3“Television viewing and cognitive decline in older age: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.” Scientific Reports volume 9, Article number: 2851 (2019).