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The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) examined the state of science on the impact diet has on brain health in adults age 50 and older. GCBH experts carefully considered what can be confidently concluded about whether and how dietary patterns and food choices influence brain health. The new report provides specific recommendations on which foods to encourage, include or limit in adults’ diets. The GCBH gives people 12 practical tips to incorporate healthy eating habits to help maintain brain health.  

The news may surprise those who drink wine and coffee or nibble chocolate because they have heard these things are good for their brain. The GCBH experts report that any benefit is unclear because there is no scientific consensus that incorporating these popular food and drinks are beneficial to one’s brain health. So what should you eat? A heart-healthy diet is also a brain-healthy diet. The GCBH found that a plant-based diet rich in green leafy vegetables and berries contributes to better brain health, while a diet high in red meat, saturated fats, sugar and salt can harm your brain health. Instead, choose a variety of fruits and vegetables and healthy grains; while you swap out butter and red meats for more olive oil and omega-3 rich fish. 

To complement the GCBH’s report, AARP surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 adults age 40 and older to understand the relationship between their eating habits and their mental well-being and brain health. The survey identifies what older Americans say they are eating now, their willingness to eat a healthier diet when they know it can impact their brain and the barriers preventing them from eating healthier choices.  Survey results can be found in the section below. 

As a result of these deliberations, the GCBH Governance Committee approved the following recommendations on nutrition and brain health for people as they age.

To find out more about healthy eating for your brain, see this article by Victoria Sackett.


2017 AARP Brain Health and Nutrition Survey

The more servings of fruits/vegetables consumed in a typical day, the better the brain health, overall health, and mental well-being. Learn more

GCBH Nutrition

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Infographic

Eating right is important for heart and brain health

GCBH Nutrition

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Nutrition Issue Specialists

LAWRENCE APPEL, M.D., MPH 

Johns Hopkins University, USA

 

GIOVAMBATTISTA DESIDERI, M.D.

University of L’Aquila, Italy  

 

PRESTON ESTEP, PH.D.

Veritas Genetics, USA

JOSÉ A. LUCHSINGER, M.D., MPH 

Columbia University, USA

 

STEFANI MAGGI, M.D., MPH, PH.D.

National Research Council, Italy

SIMIN MEYDANI, D.V.M, PH.D.

Tufts University, USA

 

OLIVIA OKEREKE, M.D., M.S.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, USA

 

IRWIN ROSENBERG, M.D.

Tufts University, USA

 

NIKOLAOS SCARMEAS, M.D.

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece; Columbia University, USA
 

ARON TROEN, DPHIL.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

 

JEAN WOO, M.D.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China

 

Suggested Citation:

Global Council on Brain Health. Brain Food: GCBH Recommendations on Nourishing Your Brain Health. Washington, DC: Global Council on Brain Health, January 2018. https://doi.org/10.26419/pia.00019.001