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Diet and your brain function

December 28, 2011 2:42:29 PM PST
Can a good diet do more for us than just keep our bodies healthy?

According to a new study, possibly yes.

Researchers say eating a certain way may not only affect our waistlines, it could also affect our brains.

What we eat and how we move are two of the most important factors affecting our health.

The study from the American Academy of Neurology is looking at diet.

Neurologists are usually involved with the brain, and now, these neurologists are looking at what our food intake might do to our brains.

Could it be that how sharp we remain in our older ages might also be affected by what kinds of food we eat?

Well, possibly, according to a small preliminary study carried out at the Oregon Health and Sciences University.

The study involved looking at people in their 80's, testing their blood for nutritional markers, measuring their brains with MRI scans, and testing their thinking and memory skills.

The researchers found that that brain function and size were better in the oldsters whose diets were high in several vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids.

"What we can take from this study is there is a relationship between how you eat and the health of your brain, in terms of how it functions and its brain size," said Dr. Ronan Factor, Cleveland Clinic.

In other words, eating fruits and vegetables, with lots of vitamins like B, C, and E, milk and cereals, which are rich in vitamin D, and salmon and other fish high in omega 3 fatty acids, compared to those whose diets and blood showed foods high in trans fats had brains not as big and not as well functioning as the others.

"How long we actually have to maintain really isn't actually said in this particular study. I think it opens up the door for larger studies, for longitudinal studies to see what the effects of diet are going to be," Dr. Factor said.

But keep in mind that when vitamins are mentioned, no one is thinking or suggesting supplements.

"It really emphasizes the importance of diet overall in terms of maintaining nutrition and then the link between cognitive function and brain health," Dr. Factor said.

Now, this is not a cause and effect study, that's next.

But for right now, they see an association: healthful diet, better brain health. It makes sense.

It's easy to see: fruits and vegetables for your vitamins B, C and E, milk, eggs and cereal for your vitamin D, and salmon and fish for your fatty acids, and stay away from Trans fats.

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