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Profound Link Between Dietary Choices And Brain Health

1 week, 6 days ago

1943  0
Posted on May 07, 2024, 5 p.m.

Recent research published in Nature from the University of Warwick highlights the profound link between dietary choices and brain health, showing that a healthy balanced diet is linked to optimal brain health, cognitive function, and mental well-being, shedding light on how our food choices significantly influence both our physical and brain health.

For this study, the dietary choices of 181,990 participants who were enrolled in the UK Biobank were analyzed against a range of physical evaluations, including cognitive function, blood metabolic biomarkers, brain imaging, and genetics to reveal insights into the relationship between overall well-being and nutrition. 

Participants provided information on food preferences which were categorized into 10 groups which were analyzed by the researchers with help from deep learning AI technology. The large dataset analysis revealed that compared to those with a less varied diet, a balanced diet was associated with better mental health, superior cognitive functions, and higher amounts of gray matter in the brain which is linked to intelligence.

According to the researchers, genetic factors may also contribute to the association between diet and brain health with a combination of genetic predispositions and lifestyle choices shaping well-being. However, those accustomed to foods that have been processed to be highly palatable but are nutritionally deficient may benefit from gradual dietary modifications; by slowly reducing salt, sugar, and fat intake overtime they may find themselves naturally gravitating towards healthier food choices. 

"Developing a healthy balanced diet from an early age is crucial for healthy growth. To foster the development of a healthy balanced diet, both families and schools should offer a diverse range of nutritious meals and cultivate an environment that supports their physical and mental health.” said lead author Professor Jianfeng Feng, University of Warwick.

"Since dietary choices can be influenced by socioeconomic status, it's crucial to ensure that this does not hinder individuals from adopting a healthy balanced dietary profile," Prof Feng stated. "Implementing affordable nutritious food policies is essential for governments to empower the general public to make informed and healthier dietary choices, thereby promoting overall public health."

 "Our findings underscore the associations between dietary patterns and brain health, urging for concerted efforts in promoting nutritional awareness and fostering healthier eating habits across diverse populations, “added Co-Author Wei Cheng, Fudan University.

"This exciting research further demonstrates that a poor diet detrimentally impacts not only our physical health but also our mental and brain health. This study supports the need for urgent government action to optimise health in our children, protecting future generations. We also hope this provides further evidence to motivate us all to make better lifestyle choices, to improve our health and reduce the risk of developing chronic disease,” commented Dr Richard Pemberton, Certified Lifestyle Physician and GP, Hexagon Health, who was not involved in the study.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Content may be edited for style and length.

References/Sources/Materials provided by:

https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/?newsItem=8a1785d88f0a7498018f0f3c47ce31cd

https://warwick.ac.uk/

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s44220-024-00226-0

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