Study Finds Best Plant-Based Foods for Brain Health

WWe already know that a plant-based diet is linked to cardiovascular health, reduced risk of chronic disease and inflammation, and longevity. Now, thanks to a new study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food ResearchWe know that a diet rich in certain plant products also reduces the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in older adults.

This research was carried out by the Biomarkers and Food Metabolism Research Group at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences of the University of Barcelona (UB) and CIBER on Healthy Aging (CIBERFES). In their findings, the study authors report a protective association between metabolites derived from foods rich in polyphenols (such as apples, green tea, berries, oranges, and pomegranates), cocoa, coffee, mushrooms, red wine, and cognitive. Weakness in the elderly. The research was conducted over a 12-year period with 842 people over 65 years of age in the Bordeaux and Dijon regions of France.

The study’s lead author, Cristina Andres Lacueva, professor in the College of Pharmacy and Food Sciences and chair of Biomarkers and Nutritional Metabolism at the University at Buffalo’s Food Research Group, says.

While the association between eating plant-based foods for brain health and cognitive performance is not necessarily new, this study is a more reliable measurement method, so the results are important. “This study used metabolism as a measurement tool, and is unique among research involving cognitive decline,” explains health coach and personal trainer Amy Nicotera, MS, RD. So instead of relying on food diary or other [less scientific] As a means of measuring dietary intake, small-molecule metabolic products from serum were identified as markers and subsequently measured.”

Nicotera goes on to note that the study involved a large sample size and was designed using two overlapping sets of controlled samples. “This means instead of just following a group of people and collecting data, researchers have healthy controls for each condition. This type of design is valid and effective for diagnostic studies.”

However, Nicotera notes that while coffee metabolites have been examined, excess amounts of caffeine have not been examined. “As we apply the science, we have to be careful about going to extremes. Additionally, while alcohol metabolites have been associated with lower cognitive decline, excess alcohol intake is associated with a higher rate of cognitive decline,” she says. It’s also important to keep in mind According to Nicotera, stress, environmental factors, genetics, and the presence of other diseases may contribute to cognitive decline as well. “While consuming more of the suggested healthy ingredients and fewer of the unhealthy ingredients reported may benefit, it does not guarantee complete prevention of decline,” she says. cognitive”.

But what’s particularly special about the specific plant foods for brain health that the study identified? Let’s take a closer look.

The 5 best plant foods for brain health as you age, according to new research

1. Cocoa

“Cocoa provides antioxidants that fight cellular damage,” says nutritionist Jamie Feit, MS, RD, expert at Testing.com. Note, however, that the study looked at cocoa –Not chocolate. Nicotera recommends, “Chocolate comes with extra sugar and extra calories—choose pure cocoa and add it to your morning oatmeal or smoothie, or whip it up with avocado and have it as a mousse.”

2. Coffee

“Coffee is known to increase memory and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” Veet says. “And this was well demonstrated and illustrated in a study conducted at Harvard University.” However, Nicotera cautions, the recommendation for coffee is three to five cups per day with a maximum of 400 mg of caffeine. One eight-ounce cup of coffee provides about 100 mg of caffeine.

3. Mushroom

“Mushrooms are known to reduce inflammation and increase vitamin D, both of which help strengthen the immune system,” Veet says. “It is best to consume a variety of mushrooms because each type has different protective properties.”

4. red wine

It owns Malbec, Petite Sirah, and St. Laurent and Pinot Noir have the highest resveratrol content, according to Nicotera. “The recommended amount of wine is one glass per day for women and two glasses per day for men. This recommendation is based on the idea that although wine offers some health benefits, it may be harmful. Suggested intake of supplemental resveratrol has been debated, especially since bioavailability is something Doubtful, and cannot be equated directly with glasses of wine.”

5. Foods rich in polyphenols

Polyphenols are compounds found naturally in plants. They are rich in antioxidants and provide a variety of health benefits. Research suggests it is recommended to consume more than 650 mg per day of foods rich in polyphenols. For example, 1,000 mg of polyphenols per day is equivalent to 12 cups of cauliflower, one and a half cups of blueberries, two and a quarter cups of strawberries, or five and a half cups of broccoli.

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