Recent studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference show that exercise not only can benefit the elderly physically, but also mentally. Both aerobic and strength training helps improve memory for adults over the age of 65, delaying signs of alzheimer’s and increasing healthy brain function. Dr. Kirk Erickson of the University of Pittsburgh lead this research and said, “Our findings suggest that the aging brain remains modifiable, and that sedentary older adults can benefit from starting a moderate walking regimen”.
Adding a healthy diet to the equation also helps. In fact a recent study shows that cutting back on fats and sugars improves memory test scores. Researchers fed 20 healthy adults either a diet that had a high glycemic index and lots of saturated fat or a low glycemic index and little saturated fat for four weeks. They then gave the participants a memory test. Those who ate the low-fat, low-glycemic-index diet performed better on the memory test, and also had lower blood levels of certain markers of Alzheimer’s disease. A similar experiment in 29 adults who already had some signs of cognitive showed similar, though not quite as impressive, results. Keep in mind that certain fats, like those found in fish oil, nuts, and vegetable oil promote healthy brain function. So it is important not to eliminate all fats from your diet.