A diet rich in polypenols and fish oils helps create new brain cells and strengthens existing neural networks; protective mechanisms against Alzheimer’s disease

December 02, 2009

 A diet rich in polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease through the production of new brain cells and the strengthening of neural networks, the way the brain processes information, according to a new Spanish study.
     Dr. Mercedes Unzeta, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) claims that the study showed that mice fed a diet based on polyphenols and fatty acids, when compared to those in the control group, had more cell growth in the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus, both of which are damaged in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
     The researchers maintain that their results show that the diet is capable of inducing the generation of new cells in the adult brain, and of strengthening the neural networks which become affected with age and in neurogenerative processes such as Alzheimer's disease, as well as protecting neurons (brain cells) from oxidative and neural damage, which they say have been associated with many diseases affecting the central nervous system.
     The team claims the results give support to the hypothesis that a diet made up of foods rich in polyphenols such as red grapes, green tea, extra virgin olive oil, cocoa, and berries, as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids from oily fish could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or even slow down its evolution. The study is published online ahead of print in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.