Unlocking Longevity: A Specific Diet Linked To Slower Brain Aging, Study Finds

A recent study suggests that the rate of aging in our brains is connected to the nutrients we consume in our diets.

Unlocking Longevity: A Specific Diet Linked To Slower Brain Aging, Study Finds

The researchers are optimistic that future studies will confirm these findings.

Scientists have been studying how what we eat affects our brain health as we age. They've found that following a Mediterranean-style diet, which includes lots of fish, olive oil, fruits, veggies, and whole grains, might help keep our brains sharp for longer.

A recent study, published in npj Aging, looked at the diets of people aged 65-75 to see if there was a link between what they ate and how their brains aged. Instead of just asking people what they ate, researchers actually tested their blood to get a more accurate picture.

They found that certain nutrients, like fatty acids, antioxidants (like vitamin E), carotenoids (found in colorful fruits and veggies), and choline (found in egg yolks and soybeans), were associated with slower brain aging.

"We investigated specific nutrient biomarkers, such as fatty acid profiles, known in nutritional science to potentially offer health benefits. This aligns with the extensive body of research in the field demonstrating the positive health effects of the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes foods rich in these beneficial nutrients," said Barbey, Mildred Francis Thompson Professor of Psychology. "The present study identifies particular nutrient biomarker patterns that are promising and have favorable associations with measures of cognitive performance and brain health."

"The unique aspect of our study lies in its comprehensive approach, integrating data on nutrition, cognitive function and brain imaging," Barbey said. "This allows us to build a more robust understanding of the relationship between these factors. We move beyond simply measuring cognitive performance with traditional neuropsychological tests. Instead, we simultaneously examine brain structure, function and metabolism, demonstrating a direct link between these brain properties and cognitive abilities. Furthermore, we show that these brain properties are directly linked to diet and nutrition, as revealed by the patterns observed in nutrient biomarkers."

This study adds to the evidence that what we eat can have a big impact on our brain health as we get older. While more research is needed, making simple changes to our diet could help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer's.