Women who follow the DASH diet are less likely to have cognitive decline later Women who follow the DASH diet are less likely to have cognitive decline later

Women who follow the DASH diet are less likely to have cognitive decline later.


A recent study revealed that women who adhered to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet experienced fewer indicators of cognitive deterioration as they aged.


The nutrient-rich foods in the DASH plan are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.


It is widely acknowledged that advancing age primarily contributes to cognitive decline.


Decades later, women who had eaten a DASH diet, which is designed to lower blood pressure, in midlife were found to have a lower risk of experiencing memory loss and other indicators of cognitive decline.


The Health Study enrolled over 14,000 females, and the researchers analysed 5,116 of their medical records. They wanted to evaluate the influence that lifestyle and other aspects had on the incidence of cancer and other long-term illnesses.


The study occurred between 1985 and 1991, with participants providing information about their diet at enrollment. The average age of participants at registration was 46 years old.


After three decades, the researchers followed up with the participants to assess their dietary habits and cognitive abilities. The researchers contacted those who had yet to respond to the questionnaire.


The survey inquired about mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to dementia. The following topics were also discussed:

  • Group conversations

  • The ability to understand spoken instructions

  • Taking familiar streets by the hand

  • Having trouble remembering recent events and shopping lists


Over a third of the participants indicated that they experienced multiple cognitive difficulties.


According to researchers, women who followed the DASH diet most closely had a 17% lower chance of expressing multiple cognitive issues.


Eating more plant-based foods can help to reduce the signs of ageing due to their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are compounds that protect the body from oxidative damage, which can speed up the ageing process.

What to know about the DASH diet

The DASH diet is a dietary pattern designed to reduce high blood pressure. It is based on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. The DASH diet emphasises consuming fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meats, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds. It also includes reducing the intake of sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars.


In 1996, a study demonstrated the beneficial effects of a diet restricting certain food groups. It was found that people who followed this diet experienced reduced blood pressure and fewer medication requirements.


Besides lowering blood pressure, the DASH diet can also:

  • Lower cardiovascular risk

  • Diabetes type 2, gout, and kidney disease are reduced

  • Lower cholesterol levels


The DASH diet is composed of foods that are high in:

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Fruits

  • Whole grains

  • Lean protein (poultry, fish, eggs)

  • Vegetables

  • Low-fat dairy


The DASH diet might achieve Similar results by including lean meats, poultry, and fish. She stated, "Though these foods weren't analysed in this study, the DASH diet does include them."


Consuming enough protein is essential for ageing adults, and poultry and fish are excellent sources. MIND and Mediterranean diets, which have been found to promote brain health effectively, include such foods. Additionally, omega-3s from fish are anti-inflammatory, which may reduce the inflammation associated with neurological diseases.


Including foods in your diet that are high in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fibre, and protein is beneficial.


It is best to limit the consumption of fatty meats, full-fat dairy, sugary drinks, candy, and high-sodium foods, as they may contribute to premature ageing. Eating fish, such as salmon, is beneficial as it contains omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, lean, skinless chicken is an excellent source of protein.


Make small changes to your lifestyle to begin making healthier choices. You should gradually reduce your meat consumption while increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption.

What to know about mild cognitive impairment

Mild cognitive impairment is characterised by:

  • Difficulty with language

  • Memory loss

  • Problems with spatial/visual perception


While the person and those around them may observe these changes, they typically do not impact their capacity to perform their usual tasks.


For some individuals, Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia may develop. For others, the condition may stay the same for an extended period.


 Age is the most frequent source of cognitive decline, yet there are other causes, including:

  • Toxins

  • Depression

  • Brain injury

  • Physical inactivity

  • Drugs

  • Diseases or conditions such as Parkinson’s disease

  • Family history

  • Stroke

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • B12 deficiency


If you are experiencing cognitive impairment, it is essential to discuss your medications with your doctor. Have a list of all the medicines you are taking so they can determine if any of them may be causing the symptoms. If so, your doctor may adjust your dosage or switch to a different medication.


Initially, a primary care physician visit is recommended when cognitive impairment is suspected. A neurologist who specialises in brain and nervous system disorders can then perform testing and make a diagnosis.


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