A recent study led by researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine has unveiled that women who followed blood pressure-lowering diets during middle age were approximately 17 percent less likely to experience memory loss and cognitive decline decades later. This suggests that adopting the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet in mid-life can potentially enhance cognitive function in later years, particularly benefiting women who represent a significant portion of Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses.
These findings hold significance for the roughly 6.5 million Americans over the age of 65 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2022, a number expected to more than double by
The DASH diet emphasizes a high intake of plant-based foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, while restricting saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar. Research has consistently linked midlife hypertension to a heightened risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
To conduct the study, researchers analyzed data from over 5,000 women enrolled in the NYU Women’s Health Study.
Participants’ diets were assessed between 1985 and 1991, with follow-ups conducted over more than 30 years.
The research underscores the importance of adopting a healthy diet (and reducing sugar consumption) in midlife as a preventive measure against cognitive impairment in later years. Following the DASH diet not only aids in managing high blood pressure but also appears to reduce the risk of cognitive problems, potentially benefiting overall brain health.
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