Discovering the Brain Boosters: What Benefits your Brain the Most!
A study found that including beef or chicken in the Mediterranean diet may help prevent Alzheimer’s.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego found that a modified version of the popular diet, including low-carb, high-fat foods from the keto diet, reduced levels of neurotransmitters in the brain associated with cognitive decline.
The Mediterranean diet typically includes fish, legumes, and nuts as its main source of protein, but this study shows that it can be expanded to include other high-fat meats as well.
And whether meat is good for someone is the subject of much debate. While many have highlighted the value of vegetarianism in past studies, more data is starting to emerge demonstrating the benefits of beef and chicken in the diet.
The Mediterranean diet includes plenty of fish, nuts, berries, whole grains, and other foods. It is part of the local cuisine in countries such as Greece, Spain and other countries in the southern tip of Europe.
And in recent decades, researchers have begun to discover that people living in these areas have lower rates of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.
Over time, they learned that it had to do with their diet. In particular, the fatty oils found in fish and olive oil have been called miracles in preventing Alzheimer’s.
Now, in a new study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, researchers have found that pairing the popular diet with a keto diet could make the same difference.
Members of the keto diet often avoid bread and other foods and instead focus on vegetables and non-starchy meats.
The UCSD team partnered with researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to bring the diets together.
They collected data from 20 participants, 11 of whom were cognitively normal and 9 had signs of mild cognitive impairment.
They were each assigned to either a modified Mediterranean keto diet or another low-fat, high-carb diet.
They followed the diet for six weeks, then took a six-week break before following another diet for another six weeks.
Fecal samples were collected from each participant at baseline and after each six-week period.
The researchers looked for signs of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and the microbes responsible for its production.
High GABA levels, also associated with anxiety, are thought to increase brain stress and accelerate aging.
This leads to more plaque and other damage to the vital organ, leading to cognitive decline over time.
The researchers found that levels of GABA and its associated microbes were lowest after a person ate a modified keto-Mediterranean diet in people who already had some cognitive impairment.
This means that a diet that included all the usual Greek and Spanish foods but also allowed large doses of chicken and beef was good for the brain.
“We hope that a better understanding of this complex relationship between diet, cognitive status, and gut health will lead to new methods for preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Susan Kraft, a geriatrician at Wake Forest.
However, the effects were limited to people whose brains were already healthy.
Source: Daily Mail
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