A diet rich in plant products reduces the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in the elderly. This is the result of a study carried out by the Research Group on Biomarkers and Metabolomics of Nutritional Foods of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences of the University of Barcelona (UB) and the CIBER on the frailty and healthy aging (CIBERFES).
The article, published in the journal Molecular nutrition and food research, is headed by Cristina AndrÃ©s-Lacueva, professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences and head of the research group on biomarkers and nutritional metabolomics of food at the UB and the Center of the research network Biomedical on Frailty and Healthy Aging (CIBERFES), which is also part of the Food Innovation Network of Catalonia (XIA).
This European study, within the framework of the Joint Programming Initiative âA Healthy Food for a Healthy Lifeâ (JPI HDHL), was carried out over 12 years with the participation of 842 people over 65 years of age in the regions of Bordeaux and Dijon (France).
Metabolomics to study the impact of diet on health
The study analyzes the relationship between the metabolism of food components, the gut microbiota, endogenous metabolism and cognitive impairment. As Mireia UrpÃ-SardÃ , of the Department of Nutrition, Food Sciences and Gastronomy and CIBERFES notes, âwhat we analyzed in the cohorts studied is the modulating role of diet in the risk of suffering from disorders. cognitive â. UrpÃ-SardÃ underlines that “the results show a significant association between these processes and certain metabolites”.
The results reveal a protective association between metabolites derived from cocoa, coffee, mushrooms and red wine, the microbial metabolism of foods rich in polyphenols (apple, cocoa, green tea, blueberries, oranges or pomegranates) and cognitive impairment in old people.
Analysis of plasma samples indicated that certain metabolites are linked to the progression of cognitive impairment and dementia. As Professor Cristina AndrÃ©s-Lacueva explains, “for example, 2-furoylglycine and 3-methylanthine, which are biomarkers of coffee and cocoa consumption, had a protective profile, while saccharin-derived from consumption of artificial sweeteners- is associated with a harmful role. “
MercÃ¨ PallÃ s, professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences and member of the Institute of Neurosciences (UBNeuro) of the UB, emphasizes that “the study of the relationship between cognitive disorders, the metabolism of the microbiota and food and endogenous metabolism is essential to develop preventive and therapeutic strategies that help take care of our cognitive health. “
Dietary changes for healthy cognitive aging
Therefore, lifestyle and diet changes are decisive as a strategy to prevent cognitive deterioration and its progression in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. âHigher consumption of fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods provides polyphenols and other bioactive compounds that could help reduce the risk of cognitive decline due to aging,â says Cristina AndrÃ©s-Lacueva.
Teams from the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Chemistry of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences, and the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics of the Faculty of Biology also participated in the study. The University of Bordeaux and the INRAE ââCenter of the University of Clermont-Ferrand (France), the King’s College London (United Kingdom), the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and the Paracelsus Medical Private University (Austria) also collaborated in the study. The research received funding from the international joint programming actions PCIN-2015-229, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the former Ministry of the Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO), through the Joint Programming Initiative “Healthy Foods For Healthy Lives.”
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