The results of new research have shown that higher consumption of nuts may delay or prevent cognitive decline linked with the increased age. This study was supported and funded by the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC).
The journal “Molecular Nutrition & Food Research” has presented this study on November 22, 2019, showing the association between nut intake and protection from cognitive decline in older adults.
Beneficial Effects Associated with Increased Nut Intake
Globally, dementia is a public health problem whose prevalence is increasing with the passage of time. A decrease in cognitive function is one of the main features of this problem.
According to an estimation by the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2050, the number of individuals suffering from dementia may increase up to 115.4 million. To face this dilemma, it’s the public health priority to prevent or delay the progression of this condition.
The increasing evidence from many studies shows a link between various dietary factors and better cognitive function. Increased dietary intake of vegetables, fruits, and long-chain omega-3 fatty, decreased trans and saturated fats, and consumption of vitamins B12 and vitamin E can lead to a healthy cognitive function.
But the latest study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research has studied the beneficial effects of nuts against a decline in cognitive function. Nuts are a good source of nutrition.
They have large quantities of USFAs, plant protein, dietary fiber, bioactive substances (phenolic compounds and phytosterols), minerals (such as zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium), and vitamins (like vitamin B6, tocopherols, folic acid, niacin).
Besides their nutritive value, nuts also have other beneficial effects. Many clinical trials have associated nut consumption with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, CVDs, cancer, and total mortality.
Because of all the above data, several dietary guidelines recommend including nuts in the diet. But still, there is only a little data available about the fact that higher intake of the net may prevent or decrease cognitive function.
The Link Between Consumption of Nuts and Brain Health
In this latest study, the research team has analyzed the relation between increasing consumption of nuts and age-related decrease in the cognitive function for over three years. The team selected nearly 119 individuals with dementia from the InCHIANTI cohort.
These participants had age 65 or above and were part of a representative population-based study of older adults of Chianti, Italy. On the basis of the individuals’ nut intake, participants were classified as regular nut consumers (≥2.9 g/day) or non-nut consumers.
The researchers have used diagnostic tools for the categorization of the phenolic compounds and validated FFQs (food frequency questionnaire) to check exposure to nuts. Additionally, the Mini-Mental State Examination test was used to measure a decline in cognitive function.
The results showed that among 119 participants, a decrease in cognitive function was experienced by 38 subjects. From which, 10 belonged to the group of nuts to be tasted by nuts. consumers and the remaining to non-nut consumers group. All these findings suggest that increased dietary intake of nuts may prevent or delay cognitive decline, thus improving quality of life.