A research team from the Harvard School of Public Health tracked the eating habits of almost 28,000 men for approximately 20 years. One goal was to determine the influence of diet on cognitive health. No surprise. There is a relationship. Participants were sorted into quintiles based on the amount of fruit and vegetables they ate. The top quintile group, comprised of individuals eating the most (six servings a day), was about one-third less likely to incur thinking or memory issues than the bottom third (two servings a day).
Consumption of orange juice was also associated with better cognitive ability. The group drinking OJ daily were 47% less likely to develop cognitive issues than the bottom quintile, who rarely drank it.
“Our studies provide further evidence dietary changes can be important to maintain your brain health”, noted Changzheng Yuan, study author and research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Famed Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard, Walter Willet, and University of Worcester Adjunct Professor Elinor Fondell, et al were also part of the research team.
See, mom was right about eating your vegetables wasn't she. You should call her.
Grab a Handful
From a report in The Journal of Nutrition:
English walnuts are rich in numerous phytochemicals, including high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and offer potential benefits to brain health. Polyphenolic compounds found in walnuts not only reduce the oxidant and inflammatory load on brain cells but also improve interneuronal signaling, increase neurogenesis, and enhance sequestration of insoluble toxic protein aggregates. (Emphasis mine. Neurogenesis is growing new brain cells, which we at Big Brain Place are all about.)
That research was performed by a team at Tufts University including Shibu Poulase, PhD, Marshall G. Miller, Post Doc, and Barbara Shukitt-Hale, PhD and sponsored in part by the USDA. Link here. The research contains an imposing list of nutrients that walnuts include, most of which I’ve never heard of.
Scientists have developed a breed of “transgenic mice” that makes them susceptible to the mouse equivalent of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Researchers at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities used those transgenic mice to learn if adding walnuts to their diet might give them some resistance to AD, and it did. From the research reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease:
These findings suggest that dietary supplementation with walnuts may have a beneficial effect in reducing the risk, delaying the onset, or slowing the progression of, or preventing AD.
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