MOSCOW, November 20 – RIA News. People whose diet contains a lot of sugars and little protein should be least likely to suffer from senile dementia and problems with memory acuity in their advanced years of life. This conclusion was made by scientists who published an article in the journal Cell Reports.
"There is no cure for dementia so far – we can slow down, but not stop it. Therefore, the discovery of diets that can improve brain function in old age has become an extremely important and joyful event for us," said Devin Wahl of the University of Sydney ( Australia).
Flour of choice
Today, most scientists believe that diet and certain foods have a strong impact not only on a person’s weight, but also on the health of his brain, blood vessels, heart and other key organs of the body.
For example, recently scientists have shown that eating large quantities of olive oil and Mediterranean dishes significantly reduces the chances of dying from a stroke or heart attack, and an excessively large amount of salt in food, on the contrary, worsens the health of the heart and blood vessels.
Until biologists came to a consensus about which types of nutrients — proteins, fats, or carbohydrates — most strongly affect the health of the body and brain, and how they change their work. Hundreds of experiments conducted in recent years have led to conflicting results.
For example, there are hints that a diet rich in supposedly unhealthy fats and proteins does not worsen, but improves human health and prolongs his life. On the other hand, virtually all scientists agree that typical “western” food has the worst effect on health and contributes most to the development of atherosclerosis, cancer and other serious diseases.
Val and his colleagues discovered one of the most unexpected advantages of another "harmful" diet containing many carbohydrates, observing the lives of several hundred elderly mice that ate different types of food. Some of them, as the researchers note, were on a special diet, the number of calories in which was 20% less than the norm.
Food for brain
Scientists were interested in how the transition to a new type of food influenced the work of the genes that control cell metabolism, and how these changes affected the work of the rodent brain and their intellectual abilities. To do this, scientists launched mice into a labyrinth, from which there were many exits marked with different smells, colors and other marks, and watched how quickly they found a way out of it.
As a rule, young rodents memorize the position of the "correct" passage on the first or second day of the experiment, and subsequently always move towards it without error. With the development of senile problems with memory and keen thinking, they learn this skill only on the fourth day of training.
It turned out that the diet strongly influences the success in this test, and not only rodents who received a small number of calories showed themselves in it, but also, paradoxically, mice that fed on almost pure carbohydrates.
They memorized the way out of the labyrinth not on the fourth, but on the third day of the experiment, and in general they reached it faster than older animals on a regular diet. These changes in their behavior, in turn, were due to the fact that their hippocampus, the memory center, almost did not decrease in volume and did not reduce the level of activity in comparison with youth.
"The most effective diet from our list contained only 8% of proteins and 80% of carbohydrates. This is very similar to what food is consumed by the people of Okinawa, one of the main" longevity zones "on Earth. Interestingly, their diet includes a large the amount of sweet potatoes containing a lot of starch, which we fed our mice ", – concludes David Le Couture (David Le Couteur), colleague Valya.