I read a great article in the New York Times recently that reviewed a clinical study on brain function in the older population. The outcome of the study reaffirmed what I have advocated for years – that nutrition plays an extremely important role in how the body functions as a whole.
The study was conducted by Gene Bowman, who is a neurology researcher at Oregon Health and Science University. He looked at blood nutrient levels in 104 participants, both male and female, whose average age was 87. He reportedly then put the participants through brain scans and a series of cognitive tests.
The outcome comparison showed that the group who had higher levels of healthy vitamins and acids scored higher on cognitive tests and had higher brain volume than those with lower levels. In addition, the article reports that "higher blood levels of trans fats were significantly associated with impaired mental ability and smaller brain function."
The bottom line is eating healthy now helps keep you healthy as you age and that we should all stay away from foods containing trans fats. According to the study, the five main nutrients that contributed most to healthy brain function as well as other health benefits are:
Vitamin B - can aid the body in metabolizing fats and protein.
Vitamin C - antioxidant that is also important for the body's immune system and may help to prevent infection.
Vitamin D - usually the body can naturally acquire from the sun and it that may help to reduce the risk of breast, prostate and colon cancers
Vitamin E – may help to avoid heart disease, strokes, and cataracts as well as slow down the aging process.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – found in cold water fish and promotes an anti-inflammatory response in the body.