Catharine Paddock PhD Fact checked by Jasmin Collier
Men who follow a healthful diet could be protecting their brains, according to a new study that tracked a large group of men for more than 2 decades.
red and yellow peppers, leafy greens
Leafy greens and red and orange vegetables correlated with reduced memory loss in a new study.
Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, analyzed data from a study that had followed 27,842 men for 26 years.
The men had all filled in detailed surveys about their food and drink intake at the start of the study in 1986 — when they were aged 51 years, on average — and then every 4 years until 2002.
The follow-up lasted until 2012, by which time their average age was in the mid- to late-70s.
During the last few years of the follow-up, they had also completed short tests to find out whether they had noticed any decline in their own ability to think and remember things.
The analysis showed that consuming higher amounts of certain foods and drinks was tied to lower risk of decline in memory and thinking skills.
The foods that most strongly showed this effect were leafy greens, red and dark orange vegetables, berry fruits, and orange juice.
The journal Neurology recently published a paper about the study and its findings.
“Our studies,” says first author Dr. Changzheng Yuan, who works in the school’s departments of nutrition and epidemiology, “provide further evidence [that] dietary choices can be important to maintain your brain health.”
Subjective cognitive function test
The purpose of the subjective cognitive function (SCF) tests that the men completed was to discern changes in memory and thinking abilities that they had noticed themselves.
The SCF test contains six items, and the study authors note that its “validity was supported by strong associations” with a gene that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.