We don’t just have brains, we are our brains, which is why protecting cognitive function might be the most important element of gerontology.
Hormones and proteins that stimulate neural growth and decreased blood flow are the primary reasons we begin to experience increased instances of memory loss, inarticulacy, and moodiness as we enter old age.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, this process can be dramatically reduced with simple changes to our diet and lifestyles.
After analyzing 8,574 participants between the ages of 45 and 65, the researchers determined that every increase in average daily fruit and vegetable intake is linked to higher cognitive function and that the best outcomes are found among those who consume at least six servings a day.
“Later-life cognitive impairment is an important health issue; however, little is known about the condition among diverse groups such as immigrants. This study aims to examine whether the healthy immigrant effect exists for verbal fluency, an indicator of cognitive functioning, among anglophone middle-aged and older adults in Canada,” the authors wrote in the new paper. “Long-term immigrants had higher verbal fluency test scores than their Canadian-born counterparts. Immigration status, social, health, and nutritional factors are important considerations for possible intervention and prevention strategies for cognitive impairment.”
Nutrition, Immigration and Health Determinants are Linked to Verbal Fluency among Anglophone Adults in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging
The new study was conducted by researchers at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Once their study pool was recruited, the team set out to explore verbal fluency’s relation to age-induced cognitive decline.
The participants belonging to the experiment group were tasked with listing as many words from a given category as they could in just one minute. This exercise is actually used by health systems to assess executive function and diagnose the onset of degenerative illness.
Alongside these measures, the authors examined the correlation between cognitive health and being single, being an immigrant, being socioeconomically disadvantaged, having hypertension, excess body fat, and consuming low amounts of pulses/nuts or fruit/vegetables.
Not only did vegetable, fruit, and nut dense diet regimens positively affect our cognitive reserve, high educational levels, and healthy body weights yielded robust beneficial associations to the very same.
Adults with stage 2 high blood pressure evidenced particularly low verbal fluency scores and both obesity and a higher percent of body fat were linked to the worse verbal fluency scores.’
Healthy immigrants who subscribed to healthy diets outperformed the control group composed of native Canadians who did not adhere to the same dietary intake.
Diets like The Blue Zone and The Mediterranean have been previously shown to contribute to longevity through similar means explored in the study. Still, there isn’t a dichotomous solution to delaying the aging process. As proven by the new report, communities that defy human life expectancy credit various contributors for their well being more often than occasioning one independent factor.
“Results of the multivariable adjusted regression analyses showed that long-term immigrants performed better than Canadian-born peers in both the The Controlled Oral Word Association Test and The Animal Fluency but this advantage was not observed among recent immigrants,” the authors conclude. “Other factors associated with low verbal fluency performance included being single, socioeconomically disadvantaged, having hypertension, excess body fat, and consuming low amounts of pulses/nuts or fruit/vegetables.”