FoodFacts.com’s mission is to educate consumers about what’s really in the food products available on our grocery shelves. We take great care to inform our visitors about ingredients that may actually be harmful to our health and the real benefits of eating a healthful diet and committing to a healthy lifestyle.
Today we read about a new study out of UCLA that shows a clear and valuable benefit to adapting a healthy lifestyle and sticking with it. It appears that folks with healthy habits are at a reduced risk for memory loss than those whose habits aren’t as healthful.
UCLA researchers teamed up with the Gallup organization for a national poll of over 18,000 people. The survey asked participants questions about their memory as well as their lifestyle. The researchers then reviewed the results to see if there was any link between healthy behaviors and memory throughout adult life.
Participants were asked five very simple questions:
• Do you smoke?
• Did you eat healthy all day yesterday?
• In the last seven days, on how many days did you have five or more servings of vegetables and fruits?
• In the last seven days, on how many days did you exercise for 30 minutes or more?
• Do you have any problems with your memory?
Of course, the memory question relied on the participant’s own perception of his or her cognitive abilities. The survey showed that healthy eating, not smoking and regular exercise were linked to better memory among the participants.
Those between the ages of 18 and 39 were less likely to report healthy behaviors than those older adults over 60 years of age. Those who reported the healthiest habits were the least likely to report problems with their memory. People who only engaged in one healthy behavior were 21 percent less likely to report memory problems, those who engaged in two were 45 percent less likely, and adults who engaged in more than three positive behaviors were far less likely to report memory problems. Seventy percent of the older adults engaged in at least one healthy behavior compared to only 61 percent of middle-aged adults and 58 percent of younger adults.
It was noted that young adults participating in the survey were the most likely to engage in unhealthy habits. 25% of middle-aged adults participating were smokers compared with only 12 percent of those over the age of 60. Younger adults also reported eating less fruits and vegetables than the older survey participants.
Memory issues were reported from 26 percent of the older adults and 22 percent of the middle-aged adults. The researchers said these figures were expected among adults of these age groups, however, they said they were surprised that 14 percent of young adults reported memory problems too.
Researchers noted that it’s possible that older adults are engaging in healthier behaviors because they are more likely to listen to their doctors’ advice. They also noted that this survey speaks to the need for further research to potentially aid and enhance cognitive function throughout a lifespan.
Fruits. Vegetables. Exercise. No smoking. FoodFacts.com can get on board with these healthy habits at every age. And as we age, we’d all like to envision ourselves as fully functioning, active older adults. Let’s commit to that healthy lifestyle every single day.