Making optimal decisions on your diet choices is one of the most important parameters of achieving and maintaining long-term health. Unfortunately, the media loves to twist poor quality data and a barrage of erroneous reports have claimed it is safe again to load your plates with meats, cheeses, butters, and eggs. Nothing could be further from the truth and a recent high-quality review identified the risks of these foods and the high saturated content they contain. Indeed, the last 2 months has seen a flood of new data and science indicating plant diets have benefits head to toe. Here we review this “explosion” of new and recent science for you to apply to your own health.
Brain and Cognitive Health
1) To examine associations between a plant-based dietary pattern and cognitive functioning, 3,039 older adults who participated in the 2011–2014 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were studied. Greater adherence to a dietary pattern consistent with a plant-based diet was related to better performance on all cognitive tasks. Secondary analyses indicated that the associations between a plant-based dietary pattern and executive function accounted for the association between a plant-based dietary pattern and memory.
2) Using data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), multiple linear regression was employed using two verbal fluency tests as a test for cognition. Low amounts of pulses/nuts or fruit/vegetables were identified as a factor in scoring at the lower level of verbal fluency.
3) A research team reviewed data from two NIA-funded longitudinal study populations: The Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP)(link is external) and the Memory and Aging Project (MAP)(link is external). The resulting data pool included 1,845 participants from CHAP and 920 from MAP. There were 5 factors that predicted avoidance of Alzheimer’s disease over time. One of these was a high-quality diet pattern called the MIND diet, which combines the Mediterranean diet and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. The MIND diet focuses on plant-based foods linked to dementia prevention.
Heart, Longevity, and Congestive Heart Failure
4) In a prospective cohort study that analyzed 416,104 men and women in the US, overall mortality and cause-specific mortality regarding diet and protein…