From: Division of Nutritional Psychiatry Research at Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, and president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research

250 individuals had brain volume (size) tracked by MRI over 4 years as well as what foods they ate.

There was a difference of more than 200 cubic millimeters in hippocampal volume (seat of memory, spatial orientation and sense of self that shrinks before Alzheimer’s disease) between individuals who ate a healthy diet (fresh veggies, less meat and fast food and more fish) compared with those who consumed a typical unhealthy Western diet (meat, hamburgers, chips, sweets and soft drinks).

“To our knowledge, this is the first human study to demonstrate associations between diet and hippocampal volume concordant with data previously observed in animal studies,” concluded the head scientist of this study, Felice N. Jacka, PhD.

A high-animal fat diet (and possibly sugar) reduces “brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels”, which impairs neuronal plasticity (communicating highways of your brain) as well as tamps down learning and promotes adverse behavioral and mood changes.

The healthier you eat = the more you promote hippocampal health and avoid age related brain atrophy (brain shrinkage that correlates with signs of aging and fragility).
• The hippocampus has more blood flow than any other tissue in the entire body.
• The hippocampal cells have more mitochondria (energy furnaces) per cell volume than any other cell in the body other than the parietal cells that make stomach acid.

Why? Nature knows that the hippocampus is the physical analogy of our “soul”, who we are.

Good food = care takes your hippocampus.

Be smart = eat smart!

And there you have it.

September 8 in BMC Medicine.