Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also contain phytochemicals that function as antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and anti-inflammatory agents. A new study suggests that frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables may provide cognitive health benefits.
Participants in the study included 2,454 adults with an average age of 75 who took part in the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey. Food frequency questionnaires were used to determine consumption of fruits and vegetables. Cognitive function was evaluated using the Chinese version of the Mini-Mental State Examination.
Participants who consumed fruits and vegetables on a daily basis were found to have a significantly lower risk of mild cognitive impairment compared to those who rarely consumed fruits and vegetables. They also had a lower risk compared to those who only ate fruits regularly or only ate vegetables regularly.
The study was conducted by researchers from Shandong University. It was published online ahead of print on April 29, 2023 in the journal Nutrients.
Long-term omega-3 fatty acids supplementation or dietary intake was found to help support cognitive health as we age in a previous study.
Bilberry is a plant that produces berries similar to the American blueberry. Bilberries are rich in antioxidants and are a good source of anthocyanins. According to a new pilot study, supplementation with bilberry and grape seed extracts may provide blood pressure benefits.
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen recruited 14 people struggling with metabolic and blood sugar health for their study. They were given 250 mg of bilberry extract and 300 mg of grape seed extract or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Blood pressure was evaluated at baseline and at the end of the study period. Blood samples were used to measure fasting glucose, total cholesterol. LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol. Fecal samples were used to measure levels of phenolic metabolites such as flavanols and flavanones.
Systolic ambulatory blood pressure (measures blood pressure continuously for 24 hours) improved by an average of 4.7 mmHg by the end of the study period, while diastolic readings improved by 2.3 mmHg. A majority of the participants had higher fecal levels of phenolic metabolites, which are obtained from food sources.
No changes were seen in fasting glucose or cholesterol levels.
The study was published online ahead of print on April 26, 2023 in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.
A previous study found that coconut sap powder may provide blood pressure benefits.
Folate is a B vitamin that is naturally present in many foods, including dark green leafy vegetables, beans, peanuts, and fresh fruit. The recommended daily amount of folate for adults is 400 micrograms, equivalent to 1.5 cups of cooked spinach. A recent study suggests that daily folate consumption may help protect against death from cardiovascular disease.
The researchers recruited 37,892 adults with blood sugar challenges for their study. Folate intake information was collected via a 24-hour dietary recall questionnaire. Participants were followed for an average of 12 years and all cardiovascular deaths, cancer deaths, and all-cause deaths were recorded.
Participants with the highest intake of folate were found to have a lower risk of cardiovascular, cancer, and all-cause mortality compared to those with the lowest intake. Each one-unit increase in folate intake was associated with an 11.4% decrease in cardiovascular mortality, a 6.4% decrease in cancer mortality, and a 3.6% decrease in all-cause mortality.
Higher folate intake was also associated with lower fasting plasma glucose levels and lower C-reactive protein levels.
The study was conducted by researchers from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. It was published online ahead of print on April 26, 2023 in the journal Nutrition Research.
Folate was found to provide metabolic health benefits in a previous study.
Black cumin is a plant found in southwestern Asia and parts of Africa that has pungent seeds with a flavor similar to nutmeg. Black cumin seeds and oil are widely used in Ayurveda medicine. A new study has found that black cumin extract may provide sleep quality benefits in stressed indivdiuals.
The researchers enrolled 72 adults with self-reported sleep issues and significant stress for their study. They were given 200 mg of black cumin extract or a placebo daily for 90 days. The Pittsburgh Sleep Scale was used to evaluate sleep quality at baseline and at the end of the study period. The Perceived Stress Scale was used to evaluate levels of stress.
Approximately 70% of the participants in the black cumin group began to see improvements in sleep quality by day 7. This increased to 79% by day 14. At the end of the study period, participants saw improvements in sleep latency, duration, efficiency, quality, and daytime dysfunction compared to the placebo group.
The black cumin group also saw significant reductions in levels of perceived stress compared to the placebo group.
The study was conducted by researchers from the BGS Global Institute of Medical Sciences. It was published online ahead of print on April 17, 2023 in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.
Vitamin E supplementation was found to provide sleep quality benefits in a previous study.