Want a healthier, bigger brain even in your older years? You’re probably asking, “Who doesn’t?”. Age-related brain shrinkage is well-documented and is associated with cognitive and movement disorders. Plus, greater brain volume in humans has been linked to better function and memory. Recent research point toward two diets that may help us keep a bigger brain longer.
In recent study, researchers looked at two separate groups. One group ate the Dutch diet, which consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, nuts, and fish. If you guessed this is similar to the Mediterranean diet, you would be right. The other group ate a diet rich in meat, sugar, and high in fat: more or less the typical American diet.
Participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to measure brain volume and other relevant parameters. Other factors such as smoking and physical activity were also considered.
Participants who ate the Dutch diet were found to have a greater brain volume that continued as they aged. Talk of a different way of going Dutch.
When the researchers swapped the Dutch diet with the Mediterranean diet, similar results were observed. That is, brain volume was similar in the Mediterranean diet as in the Dutch diet.
No specific foods were associated with the improvement in brain volume, but rather groups of food.
The key, therefore, to a bigger brain is not to only eat healthy but also wholesomely. The Dutch and Mediterranean diets consist of a combination of healthy foods and therefore provide a broad spectrum of nutrients that may be the reason for the larger brain volumes.