What we eat plays a pivotal role in protecting our health, and this statement has been well accepted and demonstrated by science. Today we know also that a high intake of fruit and vegetables, and in particular leafy greens, dark orange and red vegetables, berry fruits and orange juice, is related to a lower risk of showing memory loss and poor thinking skills that may happen with aging. This is the result of a study published in the prestigious journal Neurology a few weeks ago by a team of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston (Yuan et al, Neurology, Nov 2018).
In particular, the researchers have looked at 27842 men, all with an average age of 51, for a period of 20 years by studying their diet for what concerns the servings per day of fruit and vegetables, and by observing, at the end of the experiment, if signs of memory loss or poor thinking skills were registered. The results show that the men who ate in this period of 20 years 6 servings per day of vegetables (a serving is a cup of raw vegetables or two cups of leafy greens) were 34 percent less likely to develop poor thinking skills than the men who ate just 2 servings, this protective role increased if the men drank every day orange juice, in this case they were 47% less likely to show memory loss and poor thinking skills than the men who drank less than a glass of orange juice per month. Finally, the men who ate 3 servings of fruit per day (a cup of fruit) were less likely to develop problems than men who ate half a serving. The study shows that the intake of berries, orange juice, leafy greens, orange and red vegetables may have a long term beneficial role on the cognitive functionality. We add that the study is really interesting and useful to understand that in our body all the parts and the organs are connected and that what we eat may affect also the health of the brain. Moreover, the strength of this research is that it is based on a large number of participants followed for a long period of years, and this strengthens the results. However, the study has also some limitations, that will be fixed for sure in the next studies, in particular the research didn’t study the effect of a high intake of fruit and vegetables on women and didn’t valuate the cognitive functionalities of the participants at the beginning of the experiment in order to observe the variations.