A new Harvard study highlights another reason why mother’s advice to “eat your veggies” is spot on for long-term health and, in particular, cognitive health. The study that started in 1986 and followed 27,842 men for 26 years was designed to highlight the impact of fruits and vegetables on subjective cognitive function (SCF). The subjects were asked to fill out detailed dietary surveys about their food and drink intake. They also answered questions regarding their ability to think and remember things.
Overall, the data analysis showed that consuming certain types of food and drinks correlated strongly with a decreased risk of memory loss and cognitive decline. Namely leafy greens, lycopene-rich red and orange vegetables, berry fruits and orange juice were all positively associated with supporting neurological health.
"Our studies," says first author Dr. Changzheng Yuan, who works in the Harvard’s departments of nutrition and epidemiology, "provide further evidence [that] dietary choices can be important to maintain your brain health."
The results showed that the group that ate the most vegetables consumed about 6 servings per day, and the group that ate the least consumed 2. In summary, higher intakes of total vegetables, total fruits, and fruit juice were each significantly associated with lower odds of moderate or poor SCF after controlling for major non-dietary factors and total energy intake.