By Maureen Callahan
Originally Posted On June 1, 2013
Studies keep popping up to report new findings about how food, a specific nutrient or overall diet can improve health. But changing how you eat isn’t always easy.
Here’s a brief look at some of the key figures revealed in recent research on fiftysomethings. Maybe the numbers will motivate you to improve your diet — and quality of life — in the years to come.
1 point Men and women with severe vitamin B12 deficiency scored one point lower in mental sharpness in the Mini-Mental State Examination, part of a 2012 Tufts University Study, compared to people who had higher levels. The exam is the most commonly used instrument for screening cognitive function. The test, made up of questions and tasks, takes about 10 minutes to complete. Scores range from 1 to a perfect high of 30. The Tufts study, conducted over an eight-year period, raises the concern that some cognitive decline may be the result of an inadequate supply of vitamin B12 in older adults.Suggested diet strategy: Eat B12-rich foods, like meats, poultry and eggs. Because many older adults have trouble absorbing the vitamin, consider adding a B12 supplement or eating B12-fortified foods. RDI is 2.4 mcg (micrograms) for anyone — male or female — over the age of 14. Don't worry about taking too much. Excess B12 is usually removed in the urine.
Suggested diet strategy: Compare the nutrition information of packaged foods and opt for products that are lower in calories and sugar and higher in fiber. For example, if one cereal has 3 grams of sugar per serving and a second option has 11 grams, opt for the first choice.
12 percent The total cancer risk declined 12 percent among 15,000 men over the age of 50 who took multivitamin supplements in a 2012 Boston study. One notable exception: Taking multivitamins had no impact on the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Suggested diet strategy: Pop a quality multivitamin every day; Consumer Labs offers a free review of available products. And stay tuned for more reports, including studies focused on women, to confirm that this simple strategy is as beneficial as early research indicates.