A 2018 review article of an 82-year old woman who reversed her Dementia with diet, mentions all the healthy foods she started eating such as blueberries, walnuts, kale, spinach, broccoli, fish, sweet potatoes, tea, oats, and even dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao, resulted in having her memory back within two months.(1)
My take on this is— YES—these are the foods we should be eating. This article sends an important message of the power of healthy foods and describes in part the Mediterranean diet that I personally subscribe to and promote in my book Health Inspires.(2)
This article does not highlight what I believe helped her memory reversal as much as her food choices (besides no mention of foods she eliminated from her diet). The spotlight should have included her support system. Her son was with her throughout those two months helping her—doing things WITH her such as jigsaw puzzles, crosswords and meeting people in social situations.(3)
We need all of these things—healthy foods, support systems and fun with family and friends, exercise, rest, the right amount of quality sleep, and mix in some purpose and meaning in our lives. You can take any one of those subjects and study each in silos and show that each has positive mental health benefits. But all together, in balance as often as we can and most of the time will produce a healthy life. I can eat healthy all day long and be in complete isolation and fare poorly in my life.
There are abundant variables in addition to those listed above that each study cannot capture, such as one’s past and private health history and future treatment of their body beyond the study. Studies typically do not follow participants for long periods of time so the outcomes are only measured up to a point. An example of this is a more recent study from WebMD, that a healthy diet might NOT lower dementia risk.(4) Great—more confusion. And to my point, there are so many other variables to consider.
Eating healthy is a good choice. Food plays a central role in the culture of Mediterranean Countries as it also focuses on celebrating meals together—providing a sense of belonging. I speculate that this 82-year old woman benefited by having her son around, while choosing a healthy diet rich in plant based foods. We need each other.
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My passion and purpose is helping people reach their full potential and master their wellbeing.
Disclosure: Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before beginning any diet or exercise program and ask whether you are healthy enough to engage in a diet and exercise program. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider concerning your overall health and wellness, including your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. It is your choice to follow the suggestions, opinions and advice given by a Health Inspires wellness coach.