Overeating: Not Good for the Goose or the Gander as We Age

There’s more and more research showing that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. For your heart, good nutrition and exercise lead to lower weight, less chance of stroke, reduced risk of diabetes, and less risk of heart disease, among other benefits. Overeating and lack of exercise work in the opposite direction. But it’s not just your heart affected by calories and exercise.

A new study to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology shows that overeating also leads to memory loss. People who are prone to mild memory loss are also more likely to develop dementia, though not everyone does. Other studies show a strong link between obesity and Alzheimer’s.

So what’s a good calorie range for a healthy weight and a healthy mind? In this study of folks between the ages of 70 and 89, participants who consumed between 2,100 and 6,000 calories per day were twice as likely to develop mild memory loss. It’s too early to tell if memory loss leads to more eating, or if more eating leads to memory loss; more research will be necessary to draw one conclusion or the other.

But in the meantime, folks age 70+ should probably be consuming a maximum of about 2,100 calories per day. We know for sure that will help prevent obesity and other physiological problems. And it may help ward off mental problems too. To maximize your retirement readiness, eat healthy and get your exercise, especially as you grow older. What’s good for your heart truly is good for your mind.

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About Mike Wilson

Michael L. Wilson, MBA, CFP®, CRC®, is the owner of Integrity Financial Planning. Prior to founding Integrity in 1998, he worked for two years as a faculty member at the College for Financial Planning in Denver, training other financial advisors. Mike has 10 years of experience in the mutual fund industry, having worked with Fidelity Investments and Invesco Mutual Funds. He holds an MBA in Finance from Baylor University. Learn more about his work at www.integrityplanner.com.
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