The area of our brain believed to be important in gaining knowledge, mental health and memory is smaller in person who regularly eat unhealthy foods such as salty snacks, sweet drinks, and processed meats, according to new research.
This study was conducted on elderly people who are over 60-years of age, but the scientists believe that the findings are relevant for people of all ages, that even includes children
We have known for some time that components of diet, both healthy and unhealthy, have a rapid impact on aspects of the brain that affect hippocampal size and function, but up until now these studies have only been done in rats and mice,” said lead study author Felice Jacka, associate professor at Deakin University School of Medicine in Geelong, Australia.
“This is the first study to show that this also appears to be the case for humans,” Jacka noted.
The group of scientists used magnetic resonance imaging to check the size of hippocampi (there are two in the brain – right and left) in adults of Australia between 60-64 years.
Elderly people who ate more junk foods, such as salty snacks, sweet drinks, and processed meats, reported smaller left hippocampi, according to the findings.
Adults who ate more nutrient-rich foods, which includes fruits, vegetables, and fish, reported larger left hippocampi.
These findings have relevance for both mental health and dementia.
“As the hippocampus is critical to learning and memory throughout life, as well as being a key part of the brain involved in mental health, this study underscores the importance of good nutrition for children, adolescents and adults of all ages,” she pointed out.