Older men who consumed high amounts of vegetables, fruits and fruit juice had significantly lower odds of scoring "moderate" or "poor" on a cognitive function test later in life, according to findings recently published in Neurology.
“The role of diet in age-related cognitive function is a subject of strong and growing research interest. Past studies on the association between diet and cognitive function have returned inconsistent results, possibly due to small sample sizes and limited follow-up periods,” Changzheng Yuan, ScM, and doctoral student at the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Healio Family Medicine.
“Therefore, we used many repeated assessments of diet over 20 years and questionnaires on subjective cognitive function in The Health Professional’s Follow-up Study to study diet and later-life subjective cognitive function,” she added.
Researchers gathered daily food intakes of 27,842 men (mean age in 1986, 51 years) every 4 years between 1986 and 2002. Participants averaged 3.5 servings of vegetables, 1.7 servings of fruit and 0.8 servings of fruit juice daily during the periods studied. Yuan and colleagues then used questionnaires to assess participants’ subjective cognitive function in 2008 and 2012.
Researchers found the more vegetables, fruit and fruit juice a participant consumed, the less likely he scored moderate (OR = 0.83; 95% CI, 0.76-0.92) or poor (OR = 0.66; 95% CI, 0.55-0.8) on the cognition test. In addition, the multivariable adjusted OR for poor subjective cognitive function with each three-serving increase in fruit intake daily was 0.84; for each three-serving increase in vegetable intake daily, the adjusted OR was 0.82; and each one-serving increase daily in total fruit juice intake OR was 0.79.
“Of note, consumption of vegetables and fruits 18 to 22 years before assessment of subjective cognitive function was associated with poor subjective cognitive function independent of more proximal intake,” researchers wrote.
Yuan pointed out another finding as she discussed the results with Healio Family Medicine.
“The protective role of regular consumption of fruit juice was mainly observed among the oldest men. In particular, orange juice, the major source of the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin, was the main contributor to this association,” she said, adding few prior studies explored the prospective association between fruit juice intake and subjective cognitive function. – by Janel Miller
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.