Vegetables, Not Fruit, Help Fight Memory Problems in Old Age
vegetables, not fruit, helps slow down the rate of cognitive change in
older adults, according to a study by Rush University Medical School
determining whether there was an association between vegetables, fruit
and cognitive decline, researchers from Rush University Medical Center
studied 3,718 residents in Chicago, Illinois, who were age 65 and
older. Participants completed a food frequency questionnaire and
received at least two cognitive tests over a six-year period.
people who consumed less than one serving of vegetables a day, people
who ate at least 2.8 servings of vegetables a day saw their rate of
cognitive change slow by roughly 40 percent," said study author Martha
Clare Morris, ScD, associate professor at Rush University Medical
Center in Chicago, Illinois. "This decrease is equivalent to about 5
years of younger age."
different types of vegetables consumed by participants, green leafy
vegetables had the strongest association to slowing the rate of
cognitive decline. The study also found the older the person, the
greater the slowdown in the rate of cognitive decline if that person
consumed more than two servings of vegetables a day. Surprisingly, the
study found fruit consumption was not associated with cognitive change.
unanticipated and raises several questions," said Morris. "It may be
due to vegetables containing high amounts of vitamin E, which helps
lowers the risk of cognitive decline. Vegetables, but not fruits, are
also typically consumed with added fats such as salad dressings, and
fats increase the absorption of vitamin E. Further study is required to
understand why fruit is not associated with cognitive change."
the study's findings can be used to simplify public health messages by
saying people should eat more or less of foods in a specific food
group, not necessarily more or less of individual foods.
of the study were published in the Oct. 24, 2006, issue of Neurology,
the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging.
For more information visit www.rush.edu.