Healthy Byte: Warding Off Dementia with Regular Activity

Originally Posted HERE

Image result for workout

Even if you are at high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, there are some factors in your control to lower your chances of developing it: Adhering to four simple health measures can reduce your risk for dementia, a new study published in JAMA found.

In the study, researchers evaluated over 1,700 participants, looking at both their genetic predisposition toward Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and their lifestyles. They gauged their lifestyle based on four factors: smoking status, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and diet.

Using four healthy behaviors to come up with a healthy lifestyle score, researchers evaluated over 1,700 participants with an average age of 64 on their lifestyles and their genetic risk. The lifestyle scores included whether a person smokes, their physical activity, alcohol consumption, and diet.

The healthiest lifestyle group did not smoke, participated in regular physical activity, reported moderate alcohol consumption, and followed a healthy diet.

Researchers classified one example of a “favorable” lifestyle as not smoking, cycling at a moderate pace for two and a half hours a week, eating a balanced diet that includes more than three portions of fruit and of vegetables a day, fish twice a week and little to no processed meats, and drinking no more than one pint of beera day. On the flip side, an unfavorable lifestyle included currently smoking regularly, not exercising regularly, eating a diet that includes less than three servings of fruit and of vegetables a week, two or more servings of processed meats and of red meat a week, and drinking three pints of beer a day.

Researchers tracked the participants for around eight years. Over the course of the study, 0.8 percent of those with a healthy lifestyle developed dementia while 1.2 percent of those living unhealthily did—a pattern that held true even when taking into account those at higher genetic risk for dementia, Elzbieta Kuzma, Ph.D., research fellow in Neuroepidemiology at the College of Medicine and Health at the University of Exeter in the U.K, told Bicycling.

In fact, of those with a high genetic risk, having a healthy lifestyle cut their chances of dementia by 32 percent, compared to those living an unhealthy lifestyle. What’s more, participants with a high genetic risk and an unhealthy lifestyle were nearly three times as likely to develop dementia than those with a low genetic risk and healthy lifestyle, Kuzma said.

Though the study did not specifically look at why a healthy lifestyle can help ward off dementia, Kuzma explained that a healthy lifestyle tends to improve various cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk factors can also affect brain health, like high blood pressure. Eating a healthy diet high in fruits and veggies and rich in heart-healthy fish has been known to reduce dementia risk, possibly because it helps tamp down inflammation.

Healthy Byte: Protein, the Fountain of Youth

Originally Posted HERE

Image result for protein

(Reuters Health) – Older adults who cut back on the amount of vegetable protein in their diets may be more likely to experience age-related health problems than their peers who increase the amount of plant protein they eat, a Spanish study suggests.

Researchers examined data on 1,951 people aged 60 and older who completed dietary surveys and questionnaires to detect four types of unhealthy aging: functional impairments; reduced vitality; mental health issues; and chronic medical problems or use of health services. Participants provided this information in three waves: from 2008-2010, in 2012 and again in 2017.

Overall, study participants got an average 12% of their calories from animal protein, including meat and dairy, and about 6% from vegetable protein, including sources such as legumes, nuts, grains, root vegetables and green plants.

Compared to people who decreased vegetable protein intake by more than 2% between the first wave and 2012, those who increased their consumption of vegetable protein by more than 2% developed fewer deficits associated with unhealthy aging during the study.

“There is growing evidence supporting a beneficial effect of higher intakes of total protein on muscle mass and strength, physical functioning, hip fracture and frailty,” said Esther Lopez-Garcia, senior author of the study and a researcher at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.

The study offers fresh evidence that the type of protein matters, too.

“If you eat more plant-based sources of proteins, you are also getting a lot of micronutrients and healthy fats, and fiber that help improve your health,” Lopez-Garcia said by email. “On the other hand, if you consume animal sources of proteins full of saturated and trans fats, and other substances added during the processing (mostly salt and nitrites), you are getting all the detrimental effects of these substances.”

At the start of the study, people got about 5.2% of their calories from meat, 3.3% from dairy, 3% from refined grains and 2.8% from fish. Participants got less than 1% of their calories from legumes, eggs, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, tubers or nuts.

Changes in animal protein consumption during the study didn’t appear to influence the potential for people to show more signs of unhealthy aging by the end of the study, researchers report in the American Journal of Medicine.

But adding more vegetable protein was linked to fewer deficits by the end of the study.

“Since substitution of plant protein for animal protein has been associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, it is relevant to understand which source of protein may be more beneficial for a healthy aging,” Lopez-Garcia said.

The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how eating more plant proteins may stall unhealthy aging. It also wasn’t able to determine which types of vegetable proteins might be best from an aging perspective.

One limitation of the study is that many participants dropped out before the end. It’s also possible that results from this study of older adults might not apply to younger people.

“While high protein intake might not be preferable for middle-aged adults, it has been shown that high level of protein intake is protective among those aged 66 years and older,” said Yian Gu, a neurology researcher at Columbia University in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It is important to interpret scientific findings on protein intake based on age groups, ” Gu said by email. “The current study results are consistent with findings in the elderlies, with further information from innovative analyses of animal and plant based proteins separately.”

The sources of protein also matter, Lopez-Garcia said.

Good sources of plant-based protein include lentils, beans, peas, soybeans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains like teff, wheat, quinoa, rice, oats, and buckwheat, Lopez Garcia advised.

Healthy options for animal protein can include poultry, seafood, eggs, as well as dairy in moderation, Lopez-Garcia advised. Protein sources to reduce or limit include red and processed meat.