Heart-healthy diets may not improve cognitive function in seniors

A study by scientists at a nutritional research center in France found that the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet don’t necessarily strengthen cognitive ability in people as they age.

A Mediterranean diet, so named for the cuisine of that region, is heavy in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It has long been associated with being low in cholesterol, a major contributor to heart disease.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a team at the Institut National de la Sante et da la Recherche Medicale (INSERM), France’s national health agency, reviewed data on more than 3,000 men and women compiled over a 20-year period, starting in the 1990s.

Initially, they were asked to record their food choices for one day every two months. More recently, when many participants were about 65 years old, researchers began measuring their memory and other mental abilities. The group was separated into three segments based on how much they followed the Mediterranean diet and their test scores were compared.

The result was that researchers found no difference in how the participants did on mental testing based on how much they adhered to the healthy eating regimen. However, Reuters Health reported that previous studies have indicated a connection between the Mediterranean diet and how well people fare cognitively as they get older.

For instance, a study by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago examined the dietary habits and cognitive function of about 4,000 Americans aged 65 and older. Those who followed a heart-healthy diet appeared to experience a slower decline in their mental abilities as they aged.

People can take steps to ensure their own healthy brain development with a nutritious diet and supplements that aid their cognitive development. OmegaKrill from Dr. Newton’s Naturals promotes good brain health, joint comfort and normal blood pressure levels as it fortifies both the body and brain.