What diet + exercise can do for those with MCI

If there were a way that you could turn your
brain back to how it was working 10 years ago, most people would take that. And p eople with mild cognitive impairment
would definitely take that. And there is a group of people with mild cognitive
impairment who got that. Which was great for them, and it would be
great for you, if you could do what they did, and get the benefit they got. And that’s what I want to talk about today. Hi, I’m Tony Dearing, of GoCogno.com, the
website for people with mild cognitive impairment. I do these videos every week, and people often
ask me, what are you going to do when you run out of topics to talk about? And I’m like, are you kidding me? We live in at time of explosive research about
MCI. Really, the bulk of the research in brain
health now focuses on mild cognitive impairment and new findings come out every day. When I see something new come out that’s
important to people with mild cognitive impairment, and shows them something they can do, right
now, today, to get a potential cognitive benefit, I’m going to share it with you. Especially when the results are as dramatic
as there were in a study that was just done at Duke University. This was called the ENLIGHTEN study. It involved 160 adults with an average age
of 65. And all of these people had mild cognitive
impairment, and were sedentary, and had at least one cardiovascular risk factor. So they broke these people down into four
groups. The first group exercised regularly. The second group worked with a nutritionist
to improve their diet, in this case, following what’s called the DASH diet. Of the others, some got both exercise and
dietary improvements. And some didn’t do anything. The people who exercised showed a measurable
improvement in executive function, which is good, and was expected. We know that exercise can be good for cognition. But here’s what really stood out. The people who did both, the people who exercised
and ate according to the DASH diet showed a really significant improvement in executive
function. According to the Harvard Health Letter, it
was the equivalent of reversing brain aging by nearly 10 years. Now to be clear, this was a small study, and
it did not seem to affect memory and language in the same way it affected executive function. But this was a Phase 3 clinical trial, which
is the highest level of scientific research, and it underscores the importance of healthy
behaviors in potentially slowing or even halting cognitive decline, or as happened in this
case, even significantly improving cognition. So if you’re concerned about your cognition,
and looking for things you can do, exercise and diet are two good places to start, and
maybe work even better when you combine the two of them. With exercise, the people in this study did
35 minutes of walking or riding an exercise bike three times a week. But you don’t have to go to the gym. Any kind of physical activity that moderately
raises your heart rate can do. In terms of diet, the DASH diet was used in
this study and it’s a good choice, but the Mediterranean diet or the MIND Diet (which
combines the brain-health elements of both the Mediterranean and DASH diets) is even
more associated with cognitive health. So what’s the bottom line here? I’ve got two takeaways for you today. First, these things your doctor is telling
you to do, they really can work. And second, as the Harvard Health Letter reminds
us: “It’s never to late to start.” If you’re already doing these things, good
for you. Keep it up. If you want to do these things, and you know
you should and you feel you’re ready to start, I invite you to watch this video, where
I show you a proven strategy for health behavior change. It’s easy, backed by science and remarkably
effective. Thanks for joining me today. I’ll see you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.

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