Toronto, June 28 : Individuals who consume more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and pluses score higher on tests of verbal fluency, suggests a recent study.
The study investigated factors associated with verbal fluency among a large sample of English-speaking Canadians aged 45 to 85.
“These findings are consistent with other research that has found a Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes is protective against cognitive decline,” reported co-author Dr. Karen Davison, a nutrition informatics research program director at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in British Columbia and a North American Primary Care Research Fellow.
“Every increase in average daily fruit and vegetable intake was linked to higher verbal fluency scores, but the best outcomes were found among those who consumed at least 6 servings a day,” Davison added.
Verbal fluency is an important measure of cognitive function. To test it, subjects are asked to list as many words from a given category as they can in one minute. This measures language and executive function and can be used to detect cognitive impairment.
Adults who have an insufficient appetite, face challenges in preparing food or consume low-quality diets, may be at risk of malnourishment, and grip strength can be used to assess under-nutrition.
Those in the study who had poor grip strength and/or high nutritional risk scores also had lower verbal fluency.
“Previous research has also indicated that measures of under-nutrition are associated with cognitive decline,” said co-author Zahraa Saab from Public Health graduate of the University of Toronto.
The researchers investigated the relationship between other factors and cognitive health, as well, including immigrant status, age, blood pressure, obesity, and body fat.