Can your diet affect your brain? A new study published in Neurology suggests that people who eat healthy diets can have larger brain volumes.
Meike Vernooij, Professor of Epidemiology and Radiology at the Erasmus University Hospital in the Netherlands, and her colleagues looked to see how the diet could affect the brain. They interviewed more than 4,000 elderly people in the Netherlands (mean age: 66) about what they ate and analyzed in brain scans for over ten years
people who ate healthier food like the Mediterranean diet – rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats Sources like fish and little red meat ̵
Vernooij and her team also analyzed the effect of individual foods and nutrients and found that no single ingredient in the diet was responsible for the apparent benefit. The combined effect of eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, dairy and fish seemed to contribute to a larger brain volume.
The researchers also found that people who drank fewer sugar-sweetened drinks, such as lemonade, also had larger brain volumes.
While the study did not discuss whether diets could alter brain volume or affect brain function, Vernooij and Pauline Croll, a co-author of the paper and a Ph.D. in epidemiology and radiology at Erasmus, believe the results could lead to it new research on how nutrition could affect brain disorders. "I think these results open up many possibilities," says Croll. "It is already known that a healthy diet is associated with better brain health and that it protects against neurodegeneration, but to really say that good nutrition can lower the risk of dementia, we need larger studies and follow-up [longer]."  The team hopes to continue their work and to consider whether dietary changes can affect brain volume potentially increasing volume to slow or reverse cognitive decline.