The regular consumption of orange juice has been associated with a significantly lower probability of suffering from deficiencies in subjective cognitive functions (SCF) at older ages. This has been revealed by the results of a recent scientific study carried out by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers and published in the scientific journal Neurology.
The results also link the consumption of fruits and vegetables with a lower probability of suffering poor or moderate SCF. The study findings confirm the benefits of long-term vegetable, fruit and orange juice consumption in the prevention of SCF deterioration.
"The dietary patterns also show that those people who consume a greater amount of vegetables, fruits and fruit juices (especially orange juice) are mostly non-smokers, consume vitamin supplements, less alcohol and carry out greater physical activity. That is, their consumption is associated with healthier habits," says the head of the group of Food Biosciences of the Higher Council of Scientific Research (CSIC), Dr. María Dolores del Castillo.
The experts analyzed the dietary habits of 27,842 American men in a period from 1986 to 2002. Subsequently, the SCF of the participants was evaluated on two occasions, in 2008 and 2012. They took into account aspects such as the difficulties to remember recent events or items in short lists, following oral instructions or conversations or the proneness to disorientation in familiar places.
According to del Castillo, "the study provides valuable information in line with the data published by other authors who associate the long-term consumption of fruits and vegetables with active and healthy aging."
Previous studies back the theory that fruit juice consumption has beneficial effects on cognition and memory in adults with some degree of cognitive impairment.
Orange juice is a source of the β-cryptoxanthin carotenoid that could contribute to the benefits observed. The link between the consumption of juice and its benefits in mental health is more pronounced the more advanced the age, so this food would be especially beneficial for elderly people.
The large amount of antioxidant nutrients and bioactive components (such as vitamins A, B, C and E, carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols), which are naturally present in vegetables, fruits and fruit juices, could also reduce stress oxidation in brain cells and prevent neurological dysfunction related to age.
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