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How What You Eat May Affect Your Brain Size

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Can your diet affect your brain? A new study published in Neurology suggests that people who eat healthy diets may have larger brain volumes.

Meike Vernooij, a professor in epidemiology and radiology at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and her colleagues wanted to see how diet might impact the brain. They asked more than 4,000 older people in the Netherlands (average age: 66) about what they ate and analyzed brain scans over 10 years.

People who ate healthier diets resembling the Mediterranean diet — rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats from sources like fish, and low in red meat — showed larger total brain volume. They also had more grey and white matter, which is a way of measuring the amount of nerve density in the brain. The area of the brain that’s responsible for processing memories, called the hippocampus, was also larger in people who ate healthier diets.

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