Sunday, November 22, 2009

Confirming What Mom Told Us . . .

It's nice to see that high-tech research programs produce results that correlate with what we've been told since birth by our mothers and other health experts.

Researchers at the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany, investigated the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake, plasma antioxidant micronutrient status and cognitive performance in healthy subjects aged 45 to 102 years. The result of this study of 193 patients was published in the August issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease,and indicated higher cognitive performance in individuals with high daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Subjects with a high daily intake (about 400 g) of fruits and vegetables had higher antioxidant levels, lower indicators of free radical-induced damage against lipids as well as better cognitive performance compared to healthy subjects of any age consuming low amounts (less than 100 g/day) of fruits and vegetables.

These scientists recommend the modification of nutritional guidelines, specifically those aimed at intake of fruits and vegetables. They believe that eating these fruits and veggies should be encouraged to lower the prevalence of cognitive impairment.

“It is known that there is a strong association between fruit and vegetable intake and the natural antioxidant defenses of the body against free radicals. It is also known that bad nutritional habits increase the risk of developing cognitive impairment with and without dementia," says Dr. M. Cristina Polidori, author. "With this work we show a multiple link between fruit and vegetable intake, antioxidant defenses and cognitive performance, in the absence of disease and independent of age. Among other lifestyle habits, it is recommended to improve nutrition in general and fruit and vegetable intake in particular at any age, beginning as early as possible. This may increase our chances to remain free of dementia in an advanced age.”

These findings are independent of age, gender, body mass index, level of education, lipid profile and albumin levels, all factors able to influence cognitive and antioxidant status. The relevance of the findings is also strengthened by the fact that this was a relatively large number of subjects.

Further studies are planned that will include larger subject cohorts, patients with Alzheimer’s disease at different stages and patients with mild cognitive impairment without dementia.


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