Saccharides – the natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables and nuts – are definitely good for your body, and it seems that they are good for your brain as well.
Ms Talitha Best, a PhD researcher in the School of Psychology at Flinders University, is exploring the relationship between dietary saccharide intake and the performance of mental tasks in adults.
Ms Best said an initial phase of the project, using aged subjects, had found increased intake of saccharides measurably improved mental performance.
“Now we are trying to tease out these effects and what they contribute to health and well-being in the ordinary, middle-aged population, including how people do in cognitive and memory performance,” she said.
The trial runs for 12 weeks, during which the volunteers supplement their normal meals with either an active or inactive saccharide treatment. Participants come into the University to perform a range of word and picture-based memory tests and problem-solving activities both before and after the 12-week program to enable comparative differences in performance to be measured.
Ms Best said the volunteers’ diets will initially be assessed via a food diary to establish a nutritional “base-line” before the trial begins.
Ms Best said the project is seeking more than 50 volunteers in good health who are aged between 45 and 60 years.