We’re bombarded with dieticians food recommendations for a healthy body, but what about our brains? Often, we neglect the importance of good food to optimize our working performance or for convenience reasons.
Researchers are again providing new evidence on the importance of a healthy diet. It is widely known that eating healthy contributes greatly to physical well-being, for example by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This time new studies show the effects of healthy eating on our cognitive well-being, and the effects span over the whole lifetime.
Vegetables for better brain performance and dementia delay? Scientists say: Yes!
Researchers from the York University in Canada report that especially the consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with better cognitive functioning. They analyzed the data of a health survey in over 45,000 participants over the age of 30, assessing the degree of physical activity, the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed every day, and cognitive functioning.
The researchers found that young adults who consumed ten or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day reported better cognitive functioning; in older adults, the benefit in cognitive functions was evident already from five daily servings. The authors note that fruits and vegetables contain high quantities of important nutrients, such as vitamins C and E as well flavonoids, and all of them work in different mechanisms that are likely to reduce risk of dementia, for example by stimulating the immune system and reducing inflammation.
A Mediterranean diet for a strong brain
The research shows that a healthy diet that is low in fat and refined carbohydrates, but high in fruit, vegetables, and lean protein is essential for good brain health.
Researchers from the United Kingdom found that especially a Mediterranean diet has positive effects on brain structure. In this study, cognitive and health data was first collected from over 1,000 participants. Three and six years later their brain structure was analyzed.
The researchers found that a stronger adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower degree of brain atrophy – the loss of brain cells and shrinkage of brain tissue due to aging. Importantly, the effect was stable even after ruling out other factors that can affect brain structure, such as age and years of education. In other words, no matter the age or the education level of the individual, a diet consisting of more vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, cereal, and fish and fewer dairy products, meat, and poultry helps to keep your brain fit.
Activity, Nutrition, Relaxation – the golden pillars of a good life
There are several factors that commonly play a role in our cognitive well-being: physical exercise, staying cognitively active, as well as a healthy diet. These new studies importantly show that eating healthy provides crucial protection from age-related cognitive decline as well as from shrinkage of brain tissue, and it can even play a part in delaying the onset of dementia.
A balanced diet is a good start. To make sure, you are sticking to your plans, you will need a good chunk of willpower. With NeuroNation’s awarded courses, you will learn to control your impulsive reactions and strengthen your brain performance.