HealthWatch: Diet Patterns Linked With Brain Health

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Eating a diet rich in certain vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids and low in trans fats may be best for brain health, new research suggests.

Older people who ate this way had less of the brain shrinkage linked with Alzheimer’s disease and scored better on mental and thinking tests than those with poorer diets.

Although previous studies have suggested that a heart-healthy diet is also good for the brain, this new study took a different approach by using blood tests to determine the participant’s diet and nutrient levels.

Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, were also good for brain health.

Most unfavorable, the study found, was a diet high in trans fats. Trans fats are more often found in packaged baked goods and fast foods, including cookies, crackers, and potato chips.

“The reason that they were used in foods was because the bacteria couldn’t digest them so that the food didn’t go bad. Well our mitochondria, the little energy burning factories in our cells, are re-furbished bacteria, we can’t digest them either. They do the same thing to our arteries that they do to the bacteria: poison,” explained Dr. Robert Lustig, a University of California – San Francisco endocrinologist.

The study is published in the journal Neurology. CBS News & Web MD have more on this study about eating a nutritious diet as you age.

(Copyright 2011 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

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