Toni’s Tips: Caution When Holiday Eating

Waistlines in Middle Age Can Affect Cognitive Abilities in Old Age
By Toni Lynn Davis MHA, CNHA, FACHCA

It Is holiday time, and the food and drink are flowing. Studies show that the average American gains at least five pounds during the holiday season and most do not take it off when the holidays are over.

Watching the waistline and getting fit is proven to be good for the heart, and decreases other health issues like diabetes. A study from the Annals of Internal Medicine now finds that “people with pre-diabetes or diabetes in their 50’s experience more cognitive decline than those with normal blood glucose levels.”

“The researchers noticed that people in their 70’s who had diabetes at midlife had brains that were five years older than subjects with normal blood glucose levels. Having diabetes accelerated their mental decline; a 70-year-old exhibited the cognitive functioning of a 75-year-old. People with poorly controlled diabetes suffered worse, experiencing 19 percent more decline.” Today Health

Very interesting results that should encourage us to watch what we take from the holiday buffet this season. Here are a couple simple steps to manage your diet during the holidays, and all year to keep your brain healthy throughout your life and reduce cognitive decline in older age.

• Before you go to a holiday party or event eat a healthy meal at home. If you go to a party full you will not eat as much of the fat and sugar laden holiday treats.

• Choose light liquids like water or club soda with lemon, with or without a small dash of alcohol, wine spritzers instead of a full glass of wine. Stay away from sugar sodas and eggnog drinks.

• Try eating only half of what you put on your plate at the holiday meal. Cutting your calorie intake in half while still getting to taste everything will stave off the dreaded holiday five-pound weight gain.

• Keep exercising during the holidays and add additional activities like long walks with family.

• Take notice of insulin spiking foods. Keep sugar intake to a minimum. Eat a high protein, low starch carbohydrate diet. Include a greater percentage of fruits and vegetables in each meal, and 4oz of lean protein. Include lots of omega 3’s in your diet like fish, and vitamin B found in green leafy vegetables that are good for memory and brain health.

Overall if one reduces their bodyweight just five to ten percent it will lessen the chance of getting diabetes. Watching our waistlines and keeping fit is good for our brain health all year long.