Better Diet Quality Linked To Larger Brain Volume

Can eating healthy make our brains bigger?

In a recent study by Croll PH, et al., that evaluated the diets of participants from the Rotterdam Study, as well as their brain MRI scans, it was determined that a “better diet quality related to larger brain volume, gray matter volume, white matter volume, and hippocampal volume.”

“A diet quality score (0–14) was calculated reflecting adherence to Dutch dietary guidelines, and brain MRI was [also] performed to obtain information on brain tissue volumes, white matter lesion volume, lacunes, and cerebral microbleeds. The associations of diet quality score and separate food groups with brain structures were assessed using multivariable linear and logistic regression.”

[A] “high intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, dairy, and fish and low intake of sugar-containing beverages were associated with larger brain volumes.”

They also suggested that “the effect of nutrition on neurodegeneration may act via brain structure.”  More research on this subject, in particular longitudinal research, “is needed to unravel direct vs indirect effects between diet quality and brain health.”

Ref.:  Croll PH, Voortman T, Ikram MA, Franco OH, Schoufour JD, Bos D, Vernooij MW.  Better diet quality relates to larger brain tissue volumes. Neurology May 2018, 10.1212/WNL.0000000000005691; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000005691

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