Connection between picky eating and cognitive decline

### Study Shows Broad Diets Linked to Better Cognitive Function

A recent study published in Nature Mental Health suggests that older individuals who have a more varied and less restrictive approach to their diets may have better cognitive function compared to those with more limited food preferences. The study, conducted by the U.K. Biobank, analyzed the food likes and dislikes of nearly 182,000 older adults to explore the connection between food preferences and mental well-being.

### Preferences Influence Mental Health and Cognitive Function

The results of the study revealed that individuals with a broad palette and an omnivorous eating style performed better in cognitive testing than those with more limited or restrictive diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, or high-protein diets. According to researchers, specific food preferences were significantly associated with mental health, cognitive function, blood and metabolic biomarkers, and brain imaging results.

### Food Ranking Questionnaire and Findings

Participants in the U.K. Biobank study completed a food ranking questionnaire that assessed their preferences for 140 different foods and beverages across various categories. The data showed that a majority of participants had a balanced preference for foods, while others leaned towards starch-free, protein-heavy, or vegetarian diets. Individuals in the vegetarian category were found to exhibit a heightened susceptibility to symptoms of anxiety and depression.

### Importance of a Balanced Diet for Brain Health

Researchers believe that maintaining a balanced and less restrictive diet, which includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, cereals, nuts, seeds, dairy, eggs, and fish, may be crucial for preserving cognitive function as individuals age. While the study emphasizes the importance of food preferences on mental health, it also acknowledges that other factors may influence the relationship between diet and brain function.

### Other Diets and Their Impact on Brain Health

The study’s findings align with previous research that has shown the connection between diet and overall brain function. While diets high in sugar and saturated fat are linked to cognitive decline and depressive symptoms, traditional Japanese and Mediterranean diets have been associated with improved brain health and cognitive function. These diets, which emphasize fish, rice, fermentation, and a variety of nutrient-rich foods, have been shown to support brain function and potentially reduce the risk of dementia.

Original Story at – 2024-05-16 18:26:00

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