‘People who follow vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarians (fish-only) diets have a considerable impact on memory, but not on sleep quality.
They aimed to look at the effects of diet on memory and sleep quality. For this, they took a group of 62 adults from the age group of 40 and above, who were either vegan pescatarian, omnivores with low meat consumption, or omnivores with high meat consumption.
Impact of the Diet
To test their memory performance, the California Verbal Learning Test was used which is regarded as one of the most widely used neuropsychological tests. The sleep quality was assessed via the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index basis a self-rated questionnaire.
The results showed that the diet had a considerable impact on memory, but not really on sleep quality.
Regarding the memory test, pescatarians performed the best, then the vegetarians and the vegans. Omnivores ranked at the bottom. In a delayed recall test, vegetarians beat pescatarians with the highest score, whereas omnivores who had high levels of meat in their diet scored the lowest.
Moreover, women had considerably higher scores compared to men across various diet groups, except for vegetarians. According to the researchers, this might be probably because women prefer a plant-based diet compared to men.
Researchers explained, “This pilot study has found that there is a significant effect of gender favoring females over males in overall memory and a marginally significant effect of diet on short-term memory, with plant-based diets showing superior performance to animal-based diets.”