We’ve all heard the mantra that we need to eat more fiber. It’s good for your heart. It’s good for your digestive system. But did you know that new research now shows how fiber can also benefit your brain? Our dietary choices are more and more important in maintaining a healthy body and mind and now science is proving it. “What you eat matters,” says study author Rodney Johnson, head of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
His research team conducted a study on mice that showed high fiber diets may set off a chemical reaction in the body that results in reduced brain inflammation, which means we can decrease the risk of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, as well as keep our cognition and memory intact as we age.
The research focused on butyrate, which is produced by the bacteria that ferments the fiber we eat in our gut. Butyrate has been previously found to reduce inflammation in tissues of the body. The researchers fed mice of varying ages high and low fiber diets and then tested the butyrate levels in the bodies and assessed levels of intestinal inflammation.
The results showed the high fiber diet lowered intestinal inflammation significantly in the mice. Genetic testing in the mice subsequently found that those fed the high fiber diet also had reduced inflammation in their brain’s immune cells. Inflammation in these particular cells are thought to be one of the chief causes of cognitive decline as we age.
Most adults consume 40% less fiber than is recommended on a daily basis, primarily because convenience foods such as fast food and snack items contain little or no fiber.
If these study results hold true, it is even more important to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans, particularly as we grow older, but it’s a struggle for many. To make it easier to make healthy choices, BrainTap has several audio sessions that can help. You can choose the class from our Nutrition Series on fiber–The Importance of a High Fiber Diet; or Planning A Healthy Diet for Vibrant Health and Eating More Fiber for Better Health in our Vibrant Health series. Sit back, relax and change your brain (and heart) for the better with BrainTap! Start your FREE TRIAL now!