The Role of Nutrition in Cognitive Function and Brain Ageing in the Elderly

Abstract

Purpose of Review

The purposes of this review were to examine literature published over the last 5 years and to evaluate the role of nutrition in cognitive function and brain ageing, focussing on the Mediterranean diet (MeDi), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diets.

Recent Findings

Results suggest that higher adherence to a healthy dietary pattern is associated with preservation of brain structure and function as well as slower cognitive decline, with the MIND diet substantially slowing cognitive decline, over and above the MeDi and DASH diets.

Summary

Whilst results to-date suggest adherence to a healthy diet, such as the MeDi, DASH, or MIND, is an important modifiable risk factor in the quest to develop strategies aimed at increasing likelihood of healthy brain ageing, further work is required to develop dietary guidelines with the greatest potential benefit for public health; a research topic of increasing importance as the world’s population ages.

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References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Stephanie R. Rainey-Smith.

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Samantha L. Gardener and Stephanie R. Rainey-Smith declare they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Neurological Disease and Cognitive Function

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Gardener, S.L., Rainey-Smith, S.R. The Role of Nutrition in Cognitive Function and Brain Ageing in the Elderly. Curr Nutr Rep 7, 139–149 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13668-018-0229-y

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Keywords

  • Nutrition
  • Diet
  • Dietary patterns
  • Mediterranean diet
  • MeDi
  • Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet
  • DASH diet
  • Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet
  • MIND diet
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive decline
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • MRI
  • Brain volume
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Amyloid beta
  • Ageing
  • Alzheimer’s disease