Eating Healthy Shown to Slow Brain Aging

Recent research suggests that adopting a diet of fresh vegetables and minimal processed foods can significantly benefit the biological age of the brain. A team of international researchers discovered that adherence to a Mediterranean-based diet, complete with vegetables, seafood, and whole grains, can reduce the accelerated aging of the brain commonly associated with obesity. The study indicates that even a 1% reduction in body weight can yield positive results. Following established dietary guidelines, therefore, could be a viable key to combating premature brain erosion.

Through brain imaging, over 100 participants were studied for 18 months to analyze the effects of different diets on the brain. The participants were divided into three groups, each following a different diet plan: a Mediterranean diet with an emphasis on protein from nuts, fish, and chicken (no red meat), a modified Mediterranean diet including compounds like green tea, and a diet based on healthy eating guidelines. In addition to brain scans, liver function, cholesterol levels, and body weight were measured before and after the trial. The study utilized an advanced algorithm based on brain connectivity to accurately estimate the participants’ brain age.

After undergoing brain scans, participants displayed a remarkable decrease in brain age upon the 18-month follow-up. The scans revealed that their brains appeared nearly 9 months younger than their estimated chronological age. These findings suggest the potential for strategies to optimize brain health and longevity.

While some individuals may feel younger than their actual age or experience accelerated aging, the difference between biological and chronological age can have a significant impact on overall health. Evidence suggests that biological aging markers can be identified in DNA, chromosome endings, and even in brain connections. Recent research has shown that stressful events may accelerate biological aging, but improving diet can be a straightforward way to ameliorate physical condition, regardless of age.

While the results of this clinical trial are based on randomly assigned diets, it’s important to consider some potential limitations. The majority of participants were male and relied on online surveys to report their lifestyle and diet habits, creating potential recall and reporting bias in the data. Additionally, physical activity levels, including those at work and facilitated by a complementary gym membership, were also factored into the study’s outcomes.

The occurrence of decelerated brain aging was found to have a correlation with diminished liver fat levels and ameliorated lipid profile. However, these transformations could be subject to being superficial or transient. This research accentuates the significance of a nourishing lifestyle that incorporates the reduction of processed food, sweets, and beverages in the retention of brain health.

To view the original scientific study click below:
The effect of weight loss following 18 months of lifestyle intervention on brain age assessed with resting-state functional connectivity