Research has found that eating a healthy diet long-term can help reduce hippocampus decline and can improve memory later in life. As we age, our hippocampus, which is the memory portion of the brain, naturally shrinks. A smaller hippocampus has been found to be associated with cognitive decline. Researchers found that adults who ate a higher-quality diet had significantly larger hippocampus. This finding was independent of other factors such as smoking, physical activity, and demographic. A healthy diet is one that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes, omega-3 fats, and polyunsaturated fatty acids and limits sugar-sweetened drinks, red and processed meat, trans fat, and sodium-rich products. Furthermore, researchers found that low alcohol intake was a key component in larger hippocampus volume.
This finding is important as a poor diet is the leading cause of early death across middle and high-income countries. Additionally, mental health disorders have the highest burden of disabilities. These researchers highlight the important connection between a healthy diet and improved memory. Adopting a healthy diet can help to improve physical and mental health in addition to improving memory later in life. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help provide education on nutrition specific to your health needs and goals. We can help by providing support for maintaining your diet long-term and therefore improving your physical and mental health.
By Matt Lewandowski
Sources. : Akbaraly, et al. (2018). Association of long-term diet quality with hippocampus volume: Longitudinal cohort study. The American Journal of Medicine; Healthy Midlife Diet May Preserve Memory, Prevent Mental Illness – Medscape – Sep 12, 2018.