Brain, Dietary Patterns

Year Published: 2019

Journal

Adv Nutr

Authors

Rajaram S, Jones J, Lee GJ

Methods

This article was written as a review of the evidence surrounding the relationship between plant-based dietary patterns and age-related cognitive decline. Plant-based diets emphasize a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.

Key Findings

The bioactive compounds included in many plant foods, like peanuts, include antioxidants, polyphenols, and unsaturated fatty acids. Animal studies have shown that these compounds enhance neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and neuronal survival to support brain health. Feeding studies in humans have shown that plant foods, including nuts, improve cognition through frontal executive function. More research is still needed to compare the health benefits of plant-exclusive diets vs. plant-centered diets that include fish and/or small amounts of animal foods.