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Diet Patterns Linked With Brain Health

People With Diets High in Vitamins B, C, D, E, and Omega-3s Had Less Brain Shrinkage, Higher Scores on Thinking Tests

Diet and Brain Health: Perspective

As the research progresses, the study results suggest someday it may be possible to slow cognitive declines through  diet, Christy Tangney, PhD, associate professor of clinical nutrition at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, tells WebMD. She wrote an editorial to accompany the study.

Down the road, she says, the researchers might use a blood measure that reflects a typical diet, not just a point in time.

However, she says, it is encouraging that their results are similar to those in other studies that looked at diet and brain health but used questionnaires instead of a blood test.

Another study limitation is its small size and that the people studied were not diverse, says Heather Snyder, PhD, senior associate director of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer's Association. She reviewed the study findings.

Until more research is done, she says eating a heart-healthy diet -- which may also help your brain -- is the best advice.

Bowman agrees that the standard advice to eat more fruits and vegetables and fish and avoid trans fats seems wise. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D are found in fish. The B, C, and E vitamins he linked with less brain shrinkage are in fruits and vegetables.

Look at nutrition labels to see if foods contain trans fats, Bowman says.

Bowman serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Some co-authors report receiving honoraria for speaking or consulting from Pfizer, Novartis, and other companies and funds for research from Baxter International Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, and other companies.

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