Background: Due to the increased life expectancy, the prevalence of aging-related health conditions, such as cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is increasing. Among the modifiable risk factors, dietary factors have proved to be of primary importance in preserving and improving mental health and cognitive status in older adults, possibly through the modulation of adult neurogenesis, neuronal plasticity and brain signaling. Feeding/fasting timing manipulation has emerged as an innovative strategy to counteract and treat cognitive decline. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the timing of the feeding period and cognitive status in a cross-sectional cohort of adults living in the Mediterranean area.
Methods: Demographic and dietary characteristics of 883 adults living in Southern Italy (Sicily) were analyzed. Food frequency questionnaires were used to calculate the time window between the first and the last meal of an average day. Participants with an eating time window duration of more than 10 h were then identified, as well as those with eating time restricted to less than 10 h (TRF).
Results: After adjusting for potential confounding factors, individuals adherent to TRF were less likely to have cognitive impairment, compared to those with no eating time restrictions [odds ratio (OR) = 0.28; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.07-0.90]; a similar association was found for individuals having breakfast (OR = 0.37, 95% CI: 0.16-0.89), but not for those having dinner.
Conclusions: The results of this study reveal that time restricted eating may be positively associated with cognitive status, and thus exert plausible effects on brain health.