A healthy diet and regular exercise may help the mind function better, a new Duke University study suggests.
“It looks like exercise and diet improve the range of cognitive function,” says Patrick Smith, a clinical neuropsychology intern and research member. “It helps executive function, learning and psychomotor speed.”
The study assessed 124 men and women with high blood pressure who were at least 15 pounds overweight, determining the effect of diet and exercise on blood pressure. Those participants that ate well and exercised regularly had an overall 30 percent improvement in mental function by the end of the four-month period, the researchers noted.
Strategies utilized were a weight management program which included appetite awareness training, reduced portion size, following the low-fat DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and healthy snacking habits, combined with aerobic exercise workouts for 30 minutes three to four times a week.
“Physical activity does seem to have a direct effect on brain cells,” says Smith. “There are neurochemical changes that happen with exercise. There is also some evidence that it helps grow new brain cells.”
Cognition can be improved by:
• Memory exercises.
• Stress reduction.
• Including vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, and other antioxidants in the diet.
• Ensuring adequate sleep.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for weight loss as well as a wide range of other health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.