In a study of more than 250 individuals, investigators found that during a period of 4 years, there was a difference of more than 200 cubic millimeters in hippocampal volume between individuals who ate a healthy diet and those who consumed an unhealthy diet. Newly described influences of dietary factors on neuronal function and synaptic plasticity have revealed some of the vital mechanisms that are responsible for the action of diet on brain health and mental function. Several gut hormones that can enter the brain, or that are produced in the brain itself, influence cognitive ability. Some of the foods that can help to improve brain function are as follows:-
- Mediterranean Diet. A study of 674 people with an average age of 80 showed that those following a Mediterranean-like diet had larger brains. By volume, they had five milliliters more nerve cells and 6.41 milliliters more nerve fibers than those with different dietary habits. Mediterranean diet is rich in antioxidants and oleic acid, one of the most common fats found in the brain, which would contribute to brain health. Previous research has found a link between the Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers.
- Curcumin. In 2001, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that curcumin, a compound in curry, lowered certain toxins in mice with brains modified to model the effects of Alzheimer’s, concluding, “this Indian spice component shows promise for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.”
- Reducing Calorie Intake. Reducing calorie intake could help slow aging and deter chronic disease in mammals, a new study shows.
- Omega-3s. Consuming more omega-3s in your diet can slow the natural deterioration of your brain as you age, according to a January 2014 study. Look for European anchovies from the Adriatic or sardines from the Pacific to get the most omega-3s. A higher omega-3 index was correlated with larger total normal brain volume and hippocampal volume in postmenopausal women measured 8 years later. Eating more fish and less meat was also associated with less brain shrinkage, the US study found.
- Computer Gaming. Recent research shows that gaming could keep your brain youthful, helping to improve concentration, the ability to multitask and your short-term memory. A group of 60 to 79 year old people was given a computer game to play over a six-month period. Brain scans revealed positive cognitive changes and they all played the game as well as people half their age.
- Tea. Scientists found those who drank two or three cups of black tea a day were less than half as likely to exhibit early signs of age-related dementia. The key ingredient that made the difference was the polyphenol compounds found in green tea.
- Avoid High Fat Diet. A high-fat diet reduces brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels, which impairs neuronal plasticity, learning, and behavior.