According to a study that was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference taking place this week in San Diego, beverages, morning cereals, and frozen meals may have an effect on the cognitive health of individuals over the course of their lifetimes.
The research, which has not yet been reviewed by experts in the field, was conducted over a period of eight years in Brazil and involved 10,775 participants. It found that a high intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with a decline in cognitive function, particularly memory as well as executive function. The results were presented by Natalia Goncalves, PhD, who is affiliated with the University of Sao Paulo Medical School.
“High consumption” was defined as more than 20 percent of daily caloric intake for the purposes of the research.
In spite of the fact that these results may not result in a dramatic shift in the dietary recommendations made to patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, they do lend credence to the idea that whatever is beneficial to the cardiovascular system is also beneficial to the cognitive system.
Sarah Lovegreen, the Vice President of Programs for the Alzheimer’s Association, noted that the study confirmed what was already being taught in the class that is called “Health Living for Your Brain and Body.”
Some people may not have any other choice but to consume highly processed foods because they live in an area that is considered a “food desert” or because they have a poor income, both of which increase the likelihood that they may acquire dementia.
Alzheimer’s dementia affects 19 percent of black individuals and 14 percent of Hispanic persons aged 65 and older, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This figure compares to 10 percent of white older adults who are affected by the disease. According to the findings of the research, the significant variations in risk are most likely caused by variances in socioeconomic and health variables.