If all the studies that urge people to consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for a healthy life haven’t convinced you yet to add more broccoli to your plate, perhaps this latest research will.
Eating fiber-rich foods — such as broccoli, nuts, oats, beans, and whole-grain bread — might help delay brain aging by triggering the production of a short-chain fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties.
This the main takeaway of a new study that was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.
Rodney Johnson, a professor and the head of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is the corresponding author of the study, and Stephanie M. Matt is the first author of the paper.
How fiber lowers inflammation
As Matt and colleagues explain in their study paper, microglia — a major type of immune cell in the brain — tend to become hyperactive and chronically inflamed with age. This inflammation of the microglia is one of the main causes of memory and cognitive decline in old age.
Previous research has shown that a drug form of butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid that is produced in the colon when bacteria ferment fiber in the gut, can improve memory and reduce inflammation in mice.