Rigorous Exercise Not Effective Against Dementia, Says Study: Top 5 Foods That Fight Cognitive Decline

A study published in The British Medical Journal said that exercising rigorously may not help dementia patients, but on the other hand may just worsen it!

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Rigorous Exercise Not Effective Against Dementia, Says Study: Top 5 Foods That Fight Cognitive Decline

Highlights

  1. A BMJ study says cognitive impairment may worsen due to exercise.
  2. Rigorous exercise doesn't do anything to stop dementia progression.
  3. Eggs, berries, green veggies may protect the brain from cognitive decline
There are numerous benefits of regular exercise, which are recounted to us on numerous occasions by our family, friends and physicians. Many scientific studies have exalted the health benefits of engaging in physical activity, saying that it is good for the heart and the head too. However, at least one study has indicated that rigorous exercise may not have any positive impact on people suffering from dementia. The study that was published in The British Medical Journal said that exercising rigorously may not help dementia patients, but on the other hand may just worsen it!

The study report in the journal concluded, "A moderate to high intensity aerobic and strength exercise training programme does not slow cognitive impairment in people with mild to moderate dementia", adding, "The exercise training programme improved physical fitness, but there were no noticeable improvements in other clinical outcomes." The trial study was conducted on 500 dementia patients, out of which 329 people were put on a rigorous exercise regime, while 165 of these participants were given the usual care that is given to a dementia patient. Those asked to exercise, did two gym sessions of between 60 to 90 minutes each, per week.

These people were also asked to put in an extra hour per week of exercise at home and this went on for a period of four months. The results came as a shock and a surprise to many researchers. Those who exercised scored slightly worse on cognitive ability tests, than the other group that was put on regular care. The exercise did end up making the patients fitter, which helped them in their daily lives on the short term, but it didn't prevent the progression of the disease. However, the researchers said that the result of this study must not stop people with dementia from engaging in other milder physical activities like walking, jogging, swimming, etc.

Here are some foods that may prevent cognitive impairment:

1. Fatty fish: Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids in the form of EPA and DHA, both of which are readily used up by the body. A deficiency of DHA is linked to increased risk of dementia and memory loss, which can be offset by consumption of fish.

2. Berries: Blueberries and strawberries were found to be effective in delaying memory decline by upto two and a half years, according to a Harvard study published in the journal Annals of Neurology.

3. Walnuts: A higher consumption of walnuts was found to improve cognitive scores by a 2012 study. The nuts are high in proteins and healthy fats and a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which protects brain and heart health.

4. Eggs: Often hailed as a superfood, egg contains a whole range of essential vitamins and nutrients. Certain B vitamins in eggs have been found to reduce levels of homocysteine in the brain. Homocysteine has been linked with increased risk of Alzheimer's and cognitive impairement.

5. Green veggies: Vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli contain brain-healthy nutrients including vitamin K, beta carotene, lutein and folate. These vegetables have been known to reduce cognitive decline.

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