Healthy Diet Improves Cognitive Impairment

Individuals who eat plenty of fresh produce, whole grains and lean meat often experience significant physical health benefits when compared to people who favor diets high in fat and carbohydrates.

Now, researchers at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System have suggested that a diet that is good for the heart and waistline may also have positive benefits for the mind.

In a four-week trial, the scientists found that a diet that was low in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates resulted in reduced levels of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease as well as lowered cholesterol. Additionally, a healthy diet was shown to improve memory test scores for both normal participants and those experiencing mild cognitive impairment.

“The therapeutic effects of  Continue reading

Change in Food Environments and Availability of Fresh Produce

Maps are great for showing where things are. They’re also good for showing where things aren’t.

Two Michigan State University professors have developed interactive maps that offer a visual perspective of urban food deserts. By using GIS (geographic information systems) technology, they are showing, rather than simply telling, how urban residents are losing access to fresh produce and balanced nutrition.

Phil Howard, assistant professor of community, agriculture, recreation and resource studies, and Kirk Goldsberry, assistant professor of geography, conducted their research in Lansing. They found that many supermarkets have closed their stores that serve urban areas and have moved to the suburbs. They also showed that Michigan’s state capital is a model for what’s happening to food environments around the country.

“The change in food environments is recurring all over the nation,” said Howard, whose research is supported by MSU’s AgBioResearch. “The best selection of produce and the lowest prices have moved to the suburbs. So if you want lettuce in Lansing, or in most U.S. cities, you’re going to have to drive to get it.” Continue reading