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Heart-healthy diet: Heart-healthy diet in middle age may prevent cognitive decline in women, study says | News from Bengaluru

Bengaluru: What is good for the heart is good for the brain, goes the saying. Women who eat healthily in midlife are 17% less likely to develop cognitive decline in old age, according to a new study from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

Supporting the findings of the study, Dr. Pratima Murthy, Director, Nimhans, says that there is little awareness about brain health and the importance of heart health for brain health. “Conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, such as high blood pressure, can worsen cognitive decline. High blood pressure can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease,” explains Dr. Murthy, adding that many of these risk factors are preventable.

An NYU study of 5,116 women published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia highlights the benefits of the DASH (Diet to Stop Hypertension) diet, which limits saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar and helps lower blood pressure. According to the study, women make up more than two-thirds of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The brain has a vast network of blood vessels that transport nutrients, oxygen and glucose to the cells. “Uncontrolled high blood pressure or narrowing of blood vessels due to atherosclerosis can contribute to vessel damage. While blockage of such vessels can cause a stroke, when small strokes or microinfarcts occur, they can lead to progressive cognitive decline,” explains Dr. Murthy.

Juggling personal and professional roles, middle-aged women often don’t have time to stop, listen to their bodies and give themselves the nourishment they need, says Rajani Vaidya, health and wellness consultant, nutritionist and entrepreneur. However, taking care of your health at this crucial stage helps you stay fit through the later years. “Make sure you eat as many vegetables as the rest of the family at each meal instead of giving your portion to someone else. Add raw salad to meals as often as possible,” suggests Vaidya.


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