The Role of Nutrition in Cognitive Function and Brain Ageing in the Elderly

Curr Nutr Rep. 2018 Sep;7(3):139-149. doi: 10.1007/s13668-018-0229-y.


Purpose of review: The purposes of this review were to examine literature published over the last 5 years and to evaluate the role of nutrition in cognitive function and brain ageing, focussing on the Mediterranean diet (MeDi), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diets.

Recent findings: Results suggest that higher adherence to a healthy dietary pattern is associated with preservation of brain structure and function as well as slower cognitive decline, with the MIND diet substantially slowing cognitive decline, over and above the MeDi and DASH diets. Whilst results to-date suggest adherence to a healthy diet, such as the MeDi, DASH, or MIND, is an important modifiable risk factor in the quest to develop strategies aimed at increasing likelihood of healthy brain ageing, further work is required to develop dietary guidelines with the greatest potential benefit for public health; a research topic of increasing importance as the world's population ages.

Keywords: Ageing; Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid beta; Brain volume; Cognition; Cognitive decline; DASH diet; Diet; Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet; Dietary patterns; Glucose metabolism; MIND diet; MRI; Magnetic resonance imaging; MeDi; Mediterranean diet; Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet; Nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Cognition Disorders / diet therapy*
  • Diet*
  • Elder Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Humans