Spanish researchers have determined that a diet rich in polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids (termed the LMN diet) stimulates neurogenesis – the production and differentiation of the brain’s stem cells into various types of new neurones.
Mice fed an LMN diet for 40 days (equivalent to five human years) were found to have more newly generated cells in two areas of the brain where neurogenesis typically occurs, compared to mice fed on a control diet. Both these regions (the olfactory bulb and hippocampus) are damaged in patients with Alzheimer's disease. The results of this study suggest that a diet rich in these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances could delay the onset of this condition or slow its progression. (A Diet Enriched in Polyphenols and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, LMN Diet, Induces Neurogenesis in the Subventricular Zone and Hippocampus of Adult Mouse Brain. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Aug 3. [Epub ahead of print]).