Healthy diet has always been linked to healthy lifestyle by several experts around the world. Adding to this, a new study has found that higher intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes are linked to better brain (cognitive) health. Published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, the research stated that individuals who consumed these healthy foods scored higher in the tests of verbal fluency – an important characteristic of cognitive functions. For the uninitiated, cognitive functions or cognitive skills are the brain-based skills that help us to think, learn and remember different things.
The study on verbal fluency was conducted on a large sample of English-speaking Canadians, aged between 45 and 85 years. They were asked to list as many words as they could from a given category in a minute. As per an ANI report, this test measures a person’s language and executive function and can be used to detect cognitive impairment.
It was found that people with insufficient nutrition had lower verbal fluency; whereas people who consumed good amount of fruits and vegetables had higher verbal fluency scores.
“These findings are consistent with other research that has found a Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes is protective against cognitive decline,” reported co-author Dr. Karen Davison, a nutrition informatics research program director at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in British Columbia and a North American Primary Care Research Fellow.
“Every increase in average daily fruit and vegetable intake was linked to higher verbal fluency scores, but the best outcomes were found among those who consumed at least 6 servings a day,” Davison added.
Co-author of the study Zahraa Saab, a recent Masters of Public Health graduate of the University of Toronto, further stated that an earlier research found a link between under-nutrition and cognitive decline.
Hence, the study suggested that a better policy and health care practice may help to reduce nutrition risk, improve diet quality and the associated factors among middle aged and senior citizens. This further may help in improving their cognitive health as they age.