According to a recent research, a diet intended to prevent cognitive decline in adults may also have the ability to increase preadolescents’ attention spans.
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Promising Results: MIND Diet Shows Potential in Enhancing Preadolescents’ Attention and Cognitive Development
According to a new research, a diet designed to help adults avoid cognitive loss may also help preadolescents pay more attention. The results may be useful for upcoming dietary initiatives that seek to improve children’s cognitive abilities. The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet, which combines the Mediterranean diet with the heart-healthy Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, and the Healthy Eating Index – 2015 (HEI-2015), which is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, were the two dietary patterns that were the subject of the new study.
Only the MIND diet was positively linked with children’s performance on a task assessing attentional inhibition, according to Shelby Keye, PhD, who carried out the work as a doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and will be an assistant professor afterward. This implies that the MIND diet may be able to enhance children’s cognitive development, which is crucial for academic achievement.
MIND Diet’s Potential in Enhancing Cognitive Health for Children
Keye will present the results at NUTRITION 2023, the American Society for Nutrition’s flagship conference held in Boston from July 22–25. The MIND diet has a strong emphasis on fresh fruit, vegetables, and legumes like beans, lentils, and peas, much like the DASH and Mediterranean diets on which it is based. It also offers suggestions for certain foods that support brain health, such leafy greens and berries. Although the MIND diet has been proved to benefit adults, there aren’t many studies that have been done on kids.
Data from an earlier cross-sectional study conducted by Naiman Khan, PhD, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, were utilized in the present study. The 85 individuals in the study, ages 7 to 11, completed a seven-day food diary from which the HEI-2015 and MIND diet scores were derived. Participants also performed a task requiring spatial attention and executive control, and their response times and accuracy were recorded in order to measure attentional inhibition. To lessen confounding variables, children with neurological problems like ADHD or autism were removed from the research.
Promising Findings: MIND Diet’s Positive Impact on Attention in Children to be Further Investigated
The study participants who better followed the MIND diet did better on the test, according to the researchers, who discovered that MIND diet scores but not HEI-2015 scores were positively connected to accuracy on the task. Although the study found a relationship, the researchers warn that in order to draw any conclusions about causality, an intervention study would be required.
The researchers’ next goal is to investigate the association between the MIND diet and attention in younger kids, such as toddlers and preschoolers, to see whether there are any age-related changes and if there is a developmental component.