Can Changing To A Vegan Diet Impact The Health Of Your Brain?
As per a research, healthy brain is the result of proper and consistent supply of nutrients such as omega-3s in fatty fish, flavonoids in fruits, green vegetables, and nuts.
If you are switching to Veganism, there is still no concrete evidence that could prove if going vegan is helpful for improved brain health or not. However, there are different schools of thoughts about it.
Vegan diet and brain health
As per Dr. Scott Kaiser, M.D., a physician at Providence Saint John's Health Center, adopting brain healthy diets is still under scrutiny by the medical science and diet experts.
An observational data states that lifelong vegans were shown to have lower risk of developing dementia and same goes for vegetarians too.
Is the evidence enough to go vegan?
- Going vegan for the sake of your brain health is still inconclusive with relation to impacting your brain function in a positive way.
- Reduced risks of cognitive diseases are directly related to the lifestyle of the person rather than switching to vegan diet.
- Choosing a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, avoiding food groups that are unhealthy and not smoking or consuming alcohol, are some of the factors that highly affect brain health.
- There is lack of conclusive evidence to clearly reach a conclusion that veganism prevents cognitive decline.
- Some experts believe that changing to veganism is putting your brain to risk as it lacks essential fats available in meat necessary for better brain function.
- Studies published in Translational Psychiatry in 2019 found that veganism does positively impacts the health but research related to its effect on brain health is inconclusive. Research review notes that gut-brain axis responsible for linking the digestive system to mood and brain health are the result of vegan diet but it is hard to establish exactly how it is possible.
Food and brain health
When it comes to providing nutrition to your brain there might be certain foods that can help the brain function better:
- There are evidence related to food rich in polyphenols, anti-inflammatory dietary patterns, and plant-based diets. Vegan diet is full of antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids, phytochemicals and polyphenols that helps in developing brain cells and flourish them.
- Animal testing with regard to these compounds showed results with enhanced connection and survival of certain brain cells.
- As per a study in 2010 vegetarians showed increased brain activity with empathy and self-control and awareness of their own body as compared to non-vegetarians.
Why is the evidence inconclusive?
- There are numerous blends and combination of vegan diets.
- Not all diets are created equal, some devoid certain food groups while other include the same as healthy.
- Getting enough food with proper nutrition including vitamins and minerals are essential to maintain good brain health.
- An unbalanced diet could lead to B12 and choline deficiencies that are directly linked to production of neurotransmitters. Direct supply of choline is available in animal products as opposed to vegan food products.
- Healthy fats and proteins are essential for proper brain function vegan diets require plenty supply of both for this to happen.
In conclusion to it all observational data cannot serve concrete evidence related to veganism improving brain function and lowering the risk of dementia in vegans.
Whether it is related to directly consuming or not consuming animal products or higher intake of legumes / vegetables, numerous other lifestyle factors it is rather impossible to prove.
Medical Disclaimer: The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. Patients and consumers should review the information carefully with their professional health care provider. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. You should consult your physician before beginning a new diet, nutritional or fitness program. The publisher or its management do not claim responsibility of this information.