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Not only do healthy foods keep your body in shape, they may keep your noggin fit as well. That’s the finding of new study of brain size and memory, NPR reports.
Rather than relying on study participants to keep food diaries, researchers dug a little deeper, as it were – they tested blood samples from 104 elderly vounteers for a variety of nutrients. In addition, the volunteers also underwent a series of tests to measure memory and thinking capacity. Over 40 participants also agreed to MRI scans in order to measure their brain size.
The researchers determined that volunteers whose blood contained high amounts of fatty acids and vitamin D (commonly found in fish) and in vitamins C, E and B (often found in vegetables) were less likely to show signs of brain shrinkage, and more likely to score higher on the memory and thinking tests. Conversely, participants who favored food containing trans fats (found in margarine and many fast foods) tended to have brain shrinkage and test more poorly.
The researchers cautioned that further research was needed to validate the findings, involving a “larger, more ethnically diverse sample of older adults.” They also suggested evaluating other nutrients, such as antioxidants and amino acids.