We would all like to keep our mental capacity and functional ability as we get older. Research however shows that more and more people are developing Alzheimer disease and dementia.
There are never the less steps you can take to improve your chances of staying mentally healthy. The study reviewed is very interesting because it compared the effects of a 4 week high saturated fat/ high glycemic index diet with a low saturated fat/ low glycemic index diet on insulin and lipid metabolism, cerebrospinal fluid markers of Alzheimer disease and cognition for healthy adults and adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (Bayer-Carter JL, et al. 2011). The glycemic index rates how food effects the blood sugar levels. A high glycemic index meal elevates the blood sugar high, while a low glycemic index meal will not elevate the blood sugar much.
The participants were 20 healthy adults with an average age of 69.3 years and 29 adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment with an average age of 67.6 years. Cognitive facts, an oral glucose tolerance test and lumbar puncture were conducted at the start and during the fourth week.
The results documented that the diets had a significant effect on the conducted tests. It showed that the low saturated fat/ low glycemic index diet decreased blood lipids insulin and cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of F2-isoprostane. The high saturated fat/ high glycemic index diet had opposite effects, it increased these measurements.
The visual memory improved for both the healthy and unhealthy group on the low saturated fat/ low glycemic index diet. The researchers concluded that diet may be a powerful factor that modulates Alzheimer disease risk.
You can read more about the effects of food in the book, “The Food Connection,” which also explains why and how to implement healthy low glycemic Index meals.
Bayer-Carter JL, Green PS, Montine TJ, VanFossen B, Baker LD, Watson GS, Bonner LM, Callaghan M, Leverenz JB, Walter BK, Tsai E, Plymate SR, Postupna N, Wilkinson CW, Zhang J, Lampe J, Kahn SE, Craft S. Diet intervention and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Arch Neurol. 2011 Jun;68(6):743-52.