Adhering to a diet in midlife may increase brain volume and reduce dementia risk

According to a study from Deakin University, people in middle age who consume a healthy diet tend to have larger brain volumes and are more likely to have a reduced risk of dementia.

First appearing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, a research group at Deakin University examined the eating patterns and brain volumes of more than 19,000 participants aged 40-65 from the UK Biobank.

In the study, the diets assessed involved the Mediterranean Diet Score, Healthy Diet Score, and Recommended Food Score. “MRI brain measures included total, grey, white and hippocampal volume,” the authors explained in a press release of the findings.

From what researchers deducted in their study was that a better quality diet meant larger gray matter volume in the brain. The association was more pronounced among men.

The study suggests that reaching middle age is a vital point in life to address eating habits regarded as unhealthy, in which not doing so may raise the risk of diseases and cognitive decline.

“Findings suggest that diet quality is associated with brain structure during midlife, potentially decades prior to the onset of dementia.”

Photo: David Malan