News

Increased intakes of fruits and vegetables seem to support cognitive performance

September 8, 2015

According to a new review an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables or 100% juice is significantly improving cognitive performance and may protect against or reduce the onset of cognitive aging.

The review included the results of 19 epidemiological studies and six clinical trials investigating a potential relationship between fruit, vegetable, or juice consumption and cognitive health (1). The data analysis showed statistically significant benefits of fruit, vegetable, or juice consumption for cognitive performance in 80% of the included studies. In particular, increased habitual consumption over the lifespan may protect against or reduce the onset of cognitive aging and lower the incidence of dementia. The limited data from intervention trials indicate that consumption of fruit juices can have immediate benefits for memory function in adults with mild cognitive impairment, although acute benefits have not been observed in healthy adults thus far.

The researchers noted that many questions remain unanswered, particularly those relating to the quantity and type of fruits and vegetables that are beneficial, the degree to which the risk of cognitive decline is reduced, whether benefits are observed throughout the lifespan and not just in old age, and the exact mechanisms that underlie the associations between fruits, vegetables, juices, and cognitive function. These foods contain high amounts of antioxidant vitamin C, homocysteine regulating B vitamins and vitamin A, important for synaptic plasticity. As studies in healthy adults would be unlikely to demonstrate large improvements in cognitive function following increased fruit, vegetable, and juice consumption, future trials should focus on people who are malnourished and/or have a cognitive impairment, they said.

References

  1. Lamport D. J. et al. Fruits, vegetables, 100% juices, and cognitive function. Nutrition Reviews. 2014; 72(12):774–789.