Healthy Diet Tied to Lower Risk of Cognitive Decline

Older people who eat healthy, with more fruits and vegetables, nuts and fish in their diets, may be less likely to experience declines in thinking and memory over time, according to a new international study.

“It is likely that a healthy diet has effects on cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease, and that this is an important mechanism for reducing the risk of cognitive decline,” said lead author Andrew Smyth of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and the National University of Ireland in Galway.

The results were similar when researchers excluded people who had overt clinical events like stroke, suggesting that the benefit may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline for people without such clear indicators of advanced cardiovascular disease, Smyth told Reuters Health by email.

“As our study is observational, we can only say that a healthy diet was associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline and cannot definitively say there is a causal relationship,” he said.