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Diet and Cognition

Posted 5/27/2016

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  I am on a roll here with entries about nutrition. I say that with some amusement because, as you know, today is the start of the summer's first long week-end, and I know that I am planning to indulge in fried clams and lobster rolls. And probably ice cream. Having said that, I still think this is a potentially useful article, and I do actually pay a lot of attention to eating in a healthy way.

  This is a report from Medscape about an ongoing longitudinal study in Sweden. The question is whether adding components of the prudent diet (love that term) to peoples' regular eating habits makes a difference in health and cognition. One of the finding is that blueberries may help our brains, and the overall conclusion is that a more realistic mix of healthy eating with occasional lapses is still good for us. Love it.

  Here is the start and a link to read more. Enjoy the long week-end and please do indulge a bit.

'Prudent' Diet Linked to Better Cognition

The study showed that consuming what researchers are calling a "prudent" diet featuring fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is associated with less cognitive decline, and eating a Western diet rich in red meat, processed foods, and sugar is associated with more cognitive decline, after a 6-year follow-up.
However, the negative effect of the Western diet was counteracted by adding elements of the prudent diet, the researchers found.
"The novelty of our work was the evaluation of the effect of mixed dietary patterns — habitually having a mix of both healthy and less healthy food items on your plate — on cognitive aging," said lead author Behnaz Shakersain, a PhD candidate from the Aging Research Center, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
"We found that people who followed such an eating pattern had only about half the decline in cognitive functioning on average than those individuals with high adherence to the 'Western'-type diet."
Comparing dietary patterns rather than individual nutrients more closely parallels the "real world," said Shakersain.
The study was published in the February issue of Alzheimer's & Dementia.

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