If you’re wondering how to improve your memory as you age, you might want to start by whittling away at that middle-aged pot belly. Research shows visceral fat – the accumulation of fat that concentrates in the abdomen – reduces cognitive function and increases the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Even those who are normal weight but still have a pot belly are at an increased risk.
Middle-Aged Pot Belly Triples Alzheimer’s Risk
One recent study showed persons between the ages of 60 and 70 who had the largest waistlines scored the worst on cognitive tests. Other studies have shown that having a large belly in middle age triples and quadruples the risk of developing dementia later in life. Just being overweight increases the dementia risk by 80 percent. However, that risk jumps to a whopping 230 percent for overweight people with a large belly, and 360 percent for those classified as obese who are also pot-bellied!
Since autopsies show signs of Alzheimer’s manifest in the brain decades before dementia symptoms, your weight in your 30s, 40s, and 50s is a powerful determinant of your brain health in old age.
Many people start to feel their memory slipping in mid-life. Although some attribute this to normal aging, those wondering how to improve memory can find the answers on their dinner plate and at the local gym. Research shows that losing weight can actually improve your memory, as can exercise, long-recognized as a powerful prevention of dementia symptoms and Alzheimer’s.
How to Improve Memory? Target Insulin Resistance
What does a pot belly have to do with deteriorating brain function? It’s what the belly fat says about your health. The accumulation of excess fat in the abdomen is a text-book symptom of insulin resistance, a condition in which the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance has also been shown to speed cognitive decline, and those curious how to improve memory will want to focus their efforts on reversing this condition.
Excessive sweet and starchy foods, overeating, and lack of exercise cause insulin resistance. A diet consisting primarily of breads, pastas, rice, potatoes, pastries, sodas, coffee drinks, juice, and desserts raises blood sugar levels too high. In response, the body must secrete higher amounts of insulin to lower blood sugar. Eventually, these constant surges of insulin exhaust the cells and they refuse entry to insulin.
Insulin resistance not only causes excess belly fat, but also chronic inflammation that sets off many common health disorders, including memory loss, cognitive decline, and a greatly increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life.
In fact, because of the established links between insulin resistance, diabetes, and dementia, some researchers have dubbed Alzheimer’s “type 3 diabetes”, making a high-carbohydrate diet a poor path for those concerned about brain function.
If you’re wondering how to improve memory, one of the best ways is to reverse insulin resistance by adopting a paleo-style diet that prevents high blood sugar and insulin surges. This is a diet based on quality meats, natural un-processed fats, plenty of non-starchy vegetables (i.e., no potatoes or corn), and ample filtered water. Regular exercise is another way to maintain insulin sensitivity and has been shown to dramatically lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
If you’re ready to lose weight, but not quite sure how and where to start, you can take the first step now by downloading our FREE report, Natural Health 101: Living a Healthy Lifestyle. Our FREE report includes a healthy food list, exercise plan, supplement recommendations and more! Don’t wait until you begin experiencing memory loss to make a change – get our FREE report today!
 The relationship between visceral adiposity and cognitive performance in older adults. Age Ageing (2012) doi: 10.1093/ageing/afs018
 Larger belly in mid-life increases risk of dementia. American Academy of Neurology. March 26, 2008.
 Gunstad J, Strain G, Devlin MJ, et al. Improved memory function 12 weeks after bariatric surgery. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2010 Oct 30. [Epub ahead of print]