Alternate Healthy Eating Index is Positively Associated with Cognitive Function Among Middle-Aged and Older Hispanics/Latinos in the HCHS/SOL.J Nutr. 2020 06 01; 150(6):1478-1487.JN
Diet quality may be an important area of focus for promoting cognitive health; however, the association between diet quality and cognitive function among Hispanics/Latinos remains largely unexamined. We hypothesized that a healthier diet quality will be associated with better cognitive function in middle-aged and older Hispanics/Latinos.
The objective of this study was to examine associations between the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI-2010), a measure of diet quality, and cognitive function in middle-aged and older Hispanics/Latinos.
Data from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Visit 1 (2008-2011) were used (n = 8461; ages 45-74 y). Cognitive function was assessed with tests of verbal learning and memory, verbal fluency, and processing speed; a global cognition score was derived by summing the z scores of individual tests. Dietary intake was assessed via two 24-h recalls. Total AHEI-2010 score was categorized into quintiles (higher quintiles indicating healthier diet). Linear regression models were used to examine associations between AHEI-2010 quintiles and cognitive function adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, daily energy intake, type 2 diabetes, smoking, and depressive symptoms.
Compared with the lowest quintile, in the second to fourth AHEI-2010 quintiles, global cognition scores were significantly higher by 0.28, 0.52, and 0.48 units (P-trend = 0.042). In the second to fifth AHEI-2010 quintiles, verbal learning scores were significantly higher by 0.60, 0.62, 0.92, and 0.88 units, and verbal memory scores were higher by 0.33, 0.40, 0.52, and 0.46 units (P-trend = 0.020 and 0.007, respectively). No associations were observed between the AHEI-2010 and verbal fluency or processing speed (P-trend = 0.49 and 0.84, respectively). Among AHEI-2010 components, adequate consumption of vegetables, alcohol, and whole fruits were each associated with better cognitive function.
An overall healthier diet quality was associated with better global cognition, verbal learning, and verbal memory in middle-aged and older Hispanics/Latinos.