People who engage in regular physical activity and consume plenty of fruits and vegetables are likely to stay sharp even in their old age, suggests new research.
“Factors such as adhering to a healthy lifestyle including a diet that is rich in essential nutrients, regular exercise engagement, and having an adequate cardiovascular profile all seem to be effective ways by which to preserve cognitive function and delay cognitive decline,” said one of the researchers Alina Cohen from York University in Toronto, Canada.
This study examined cross-sectional data from 45,522 adults, 30 years of age and older, from the 2012 annual component of the Canadian Community Health Survey.
Cognitive function was assessed using a single six-level question of the Health Utilities Index, which assessed mental processes, such as thinking, memory, and problem solving.
Participants were analysed by their age, level of physical activity, body mass index and daily intake of fruit and vegetables.
Using general linear models and mediation analyses, researchers assessed the relationship between these factors and participants’ overall cognitive function.
The results, published in the Journal of Public Health, showed that higher levels of physical activity, eating more fruits and vegetables, and having a body mass index (BMI) in the normal weight (18.5-24.9 kg/m2) or overweight range (25.0-29.9 kg/m2) were each associated with better cognitive function in both younger and older adults.