According to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reporters, the ketogenic diet or a low-carb, high-fat diet might be the secret to keeping your brain young and healthy.
The research, conducted by Sanders-Brown Centre on Aging at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, USA, found that avoiding refined carbs while loading up on fats and protein could help prevent cognitive decline. However the research was carried out on mice.
After splitting the rodents into two groups, one on a keto diet and the other on their normal diet, scientists tested the neuromuscular function (circulation, sensory and motor functions).
Sixteen weeks later, mice who stuck to a keto diet showed improved blood flow to the brain, better blood sugar levels and better bacterial balance while also losing weight.
The findings also note that the diet helped clear "beta-amyloid proteins" in the brain, building blocks that typically stick together during Alzheirmer's
"Neurovascular integrity, including cerebral blood flow and blood-brain barrier function, plays a major role in cognitive ability," says study author Ai-Ling Lin.
"Recent science has suggested that neurovascular integrity might be regulated by the bacteria in the gut, so we set out to see whether the ketogenic diet enhanced brain vascular function and reduced neurodegeneration risk in young healthy mice."
"While diet modifications, the ketogenic diet, in particular, has demonstrated effectiveness in treating certain diseases, we chose to test healthy young mice, using diet as a potential preventative measure," continues Lin.
"We were delighted to see that we might indeed be able to use diet to mitigate risk for Alzheimer's disease."
Further research is needed to determine why keto protects the brain but Lin suggests that a high-fat diet can inhibit a nutrient sensor that previous research has shown impacts ageing.
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