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Important Food Nutrients Found by Scientists Associated with Slower Brain Aging

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Knowing the biological reasons behind aging may enable us to live longer, healthier lives. Diet and brain aging are significantly correlated, according to a recent study. A study comparing brain scans with nutritional intake was carried out on 100 volunteers, ages 65 to 75, by researchers from the Universities of Illinois and Nebraska-Lincoln. They found that food intake that resembled the Mediterranean diet was linked to delayed aging of the brain.

According to nutritional scientist Aron Barbey of the University of Illinois, “we looked into specific nutrient biomarkers, like fatty acid profiles, known in nutritional science to potentially offer health benefits.” “This aligns with the extensive body of research in the field demonstrating the positive health effects of the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes foods rich in these beneficial nutrients.”

The study provided strong scientific support for the individuals’ diets by using blood samples to determine nutritional indicators. Fatty acids from fish and olive oil, carotenoids from carrots and pumpkin, antioxidants like vitamin E from spinach and almonds, and choline from egg yolks and organ meats were among the helpful biomarkers.

MRI scans and cognitive tests were used to measure brain aging, providing a comprehensive image of both neuronal architecture and mental flexibility. “This allows us to build a more robust understanding of the relationship between these factors,” Barbey explains. “We simultaneously examine brain structure, function, and metabolism, demonstrating a direct link between these brain properties and cognitive abilities.”

Although the study only looks at one point in time and isn’t thorough enough to establish cause and effect, a 2023 study that tracked participants over 12 years found similar results. In order to investigate further how nutrition and diet may affect brain aging and maybe lower the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, the research team plans to carry out long-term clinical trials.

“The present study identifies particular nutrient biomarker patterns that are promising and have favorable associations with measures of cognitive performance and brain health,” Barbey states.

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