Brain Health & Diet

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It is well known that a proper diet is necessary in order to maintain a long life and good mental ability. However, as studies continue to show, there are more and more hidden benefits to eating a healthy diet devoid of highly processed foods and greasy or fatty foods. Most western cultures use a lot of processed foods and fats in their diets, whether as a result of the ease of access to fast food or fried foods of the sort at theme parks and public events. While there are many efforts being made to improve the diets in western society, more negatives connecting to these diets are making themselves more well-known too. 

What The Study Consisted Of

In a major study conducted by the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health, or ELSA as referred to by the American Medical Association, tests were done across nearly 11,000 individuals over the span of several years (in burst of two) to ascertain how much of a role dietary guidelines play in the development of dementia. The global estimate is that by 2050, over 153 million individuals will suffer from dementia, and that it is assumed to be tied to this diet of highly processed foods that has sprung up over the past few decades. With this supposed connection as a counter to knowing how healthy diets tended to show larger brain growth and, when combined with other healthy lifestyle habits, reduces the likelihood of developing cognitive decline as individuals age. 

The test mostly consisted of individuals between ages 35 and 74 and ranged from low-income to average-income individuals across portions of Brazil, with varied occupations to cover a wider demographic. Foods were grouped in four subsections, with groups 1 and 2 being the healthiest while group 4 included the highly processed foods found internationally in stores as snacks and fried or artificial flavors. These groupings allowed for testing to show direct correlations to food groupings and cognitive capabilities or decline. The testing included immediate recall testing, late recall testing, and phonetic and semantic testing, all of which show higher-level brain functionality. 

To emphasize the division of healthy food versus unhealthy, the healthy foods included fish, non-processed meats and cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and minerals that the body needs to function optimally. This diet is rich in amino acids and Omega 3s and is proven to make a positive difference in an individual’s health and has been proven to work in many Asian and other Eastern cultures where fish and other healthy food items are common in diets. These diets are also known to show a better response to cognitive stimuli and decreased health issues as the individuals age. The result of this is that healthy diets like these with high Omega 3s and other fatty acids is that dementia and other ailments are less common as the brain stays healthy longer.

The study ultimately shows that eating healthy fatty acids, such as Omega 3s in foods that contain DHA are good at improving cognitive capabilities, brain health, and even can lower the chances of developing dementia as a result. Healthy diets that lack highly processed foods affect quite a lot more than just one’s outward appearance, benefiting the body as a whole as opposed to in parts. 

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