Inflammatory Foods Could Accelerate Brain Aging
By Joseph E. Scherger, MD, MPH
Core Faculty, Eisenhower Health Family Medicine Residency Program, Eisenhower Health Center, La Quinta, CA; Clinical Professor, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
SYNOPSIS: In the Framingham Offspring cohort of subjects, those with a higher index of inflammatory foods recorded smaller brain volume, less grey matter.
SOURCE: Melo Van Lent D, Gokingco H, Short MI, et al. Higher Dietary Inflammatory Index scores are associated with brain MRI markers of brain aging: Results from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort. Alzheimers Dement 2022; May 6. doi: 10.1002/alz.12685. [Online ahead of print].
Investigators used the offspring cohort of the Framingham Heart Study to monitor those who completed a dietary inventory and for whom there was an MRI of their brain. A total of 1,897 participants qualified for inclusion in this study (mean ± standard deviation, age 62 ± 9 years). The authors used the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII), a quantitative method for determining how diet can affect various health outcomes. Inflammatory foods consisted of breakfast cereals, types of fat and oils, and frequency of consumption of fried foods. Those with higher DII scores recorded smaller total brain volume, less grey matter, and larger lateral ventricular volume. The authors stated they are one of the first groups to report on the associations between higher DII scores and brain volume.
The authors of previous studies have reported an association between too much sugar intake, smaller brain volume, and cognitive decline even leading to Alzheimer’s disease.1,2 The concept of inflammatory foods is less recognized and there have not been many published studies.
This article is an important step in appreciating how inflammatory foods can adversely affect health, especially in the brain. Unfortunately, high glycemic and processed inflammatory foods are pervasive in our modern diet. Extra effort must be made to avoid these foods; replace them with healthy alternatives. Our physical and brain health depends on it.
1. Pase MP, Himali JJ, Jacques PF, et al. Sugary beverage intake and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease in the community. Alzheimers Dement 2017;13:955-964.
2. Barnes JN, Joyner MJ. Sugar highs and lows: The impact of diet on cognitive function. J Physiol 2012;590:2831.
In the Framingham Offspring cohort of subjects, those with a higher index of inflammatory foods recorded smaller brain volume, less grey matter.
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