Scientists at Deakin University in Australia have just published results of a study that measured the brain sizes of people who eat a lot of junk food, and the brain sizes of people who eat nutritious diets. The study focused on the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is crucial for memory and learning.
The research was done by measuring the subjects’ diets and comparing MRI scans of their brains. The 255 subjects of the study were all 60 to 64 years old. The scientists found smaller hippocampi, on average, in the people whose diets were high in sugar, salt and fat. Medical Xpress reported that older people who ate a more nutritious diet had larger left hippocampi than the group who ate more junk food.
Associate Professor Felice Jacka explained that the hippocampus is important to cognition, mood, and mental health. She said that this part of the brain grows new cells throughout life, so the impact of diet upon the hippocampus is crucial across all stages of human life.