Role of fruits, nuts, and vegetables in maintaining cognitive health☆
Population aging is leading to an increase in the incidence of age-related cognitive dysfunction and, with it, the health care burden of caring for older adults. Epidemiological studies have shown that consumption of fruits, nuts, and vegetables is positively associated with cognitive ability; however, these foods, which contain a variety of neuroprotective phytochemicals, are widely under-consumed. Surprisingly few studies have investigated the effects of individual plant foods on cognitive health but recent clinical trials have shown that dietary supplementation with individual foods, or switching to a diet rich in several of these foods, can improve cognitive ability. While additional research is needed, increasing fruit, nut, and vegetable intake may be an effective strategy to prevent or delay the onset of cognitive dysfunction during aging.