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.