More bad news for junk food, as a recent study published in the journal Neurology shows that elderly people having higher levels of certain vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids in their blood score better on mental acuity tests than those who eat the junk.  Further, researchers found that eating better might even reduce the brain shrinkage associated with with Alzheimer’s disease. Booyah!

The study, conducted at Oregon State University, and one of the first of its kind, looked at 104 people at an average age of 87, and specifically measured a wide range of blood nutrient levels (instead of basing results on food questionnaires, which are less precise and less reliable).

“The vitamins and nutrients you get from eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables and fish can be measured in blood biomarkers,” said Traber Maret Traber, a principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute and study co-author. ”I’m a firm believer these nutrients have strong potential to protect your brain and make it work better.”
Yes, so am I! I’ve been preaching for years. Always happy to see the science back up a universal truth–whole, natural foods are healing and health enhancing. We’ve gone through millions of years of evolution feeding ourselves the foods of the earth–can’t think of any Doritos shortages that challenged mankind, can you?
The principle vitamins they found to help neurological health are some of my personal favs–vitamins B, C, D and E, as well as the omega 3 fatty acids–which increased mental quickness and brain size.
Elderly people that had diets high in unnatural and unhealthy foods, like those laden with trans-fats, fared worse on cognitive tests. Although the researchers found that age and education had major effects on cognitive function and brain size, nutrient status accounted for 17% of the variation in scores, and 37% of the differences in brain volume.
Well, what can I say other than…been tellin’ ya. Eat well–it’ll take you far. This study looked at people with typical American diets–some good, some…well, not so much. But it’s not too late to make the switch–in fact, perfect time for the new year. 
I’ll leave it to study co-author Gene Bowman of the Oregon Health and Science University to conclude with, ”It is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet.” Indeed.

3 Responses to Brain Enhancing Healthy Foods

  1. Anonymous says:

    I appear to be doing that asking lots of questions..er..thing..

    Growth Insulin Factor – know I hv to speak to Doctor – in meantime, would my Vit.B1 and B12 be less affective?
    And, could you direct me to a site with ref to above.. cos I have looked, and although some sense is made.. Diagnosed 8 weeks ago.. and no, no treatment nor examination as yet.

    Many thanks Dr. Nick.

    Doreen

  2. The Lady says:

    Hi Dr Nick

    I don’t have access to the journal where the study is but I would love to see the evidence for using blood nutrient levels in elderly patients as a more exact marker than food diaries. I also wonder whether the researchers took into account a higher degree of absorption impairment in some elderly people and other drug interactions. It has been my experience that vit B12 deficiency (often due to poor absorption in the elderly) mimics and/or worsens dementia symptoms. So however well some people eat, if their gut absorption’s limited, it won’t appear in the bloodstream.

    If you’ve seen the full paper, I’d love to hear your critique.

  3. Hello TL,

    Thank you for reading and commenting. The links in the post will take you to most of the relevant info. I try to provide the primary study when I can, and I have in this case. Click around on the links and you should find it. Let me know your opinion.

    Doreen, if you are looking for the primary paper, as well–one of the links above should get you there. As far as your question is concerned, I haven’t heard that but it is beyond my level of expertise, and so probably best for you to talk to your doctor.

    Thank you both and Happy New Year.

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