Diet for brain health may not get you 6-pack abs

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

By TC Newman, Buzz60

Popular diets have Americans shunning white starches and alcohol, but a Harvard researcher is challenging everything we've been taught about a healthy diet.

Dr. Preston Estep runs studies on gerontology at Harvard Medical School, and says Alzheimer's and other dementia related deaths have tripled in the last 20 years.

SEE ALSO: These are the 10 most popular foods on Twitter

Our lifespan has gotten longer, but what Dr. Estep calls the "mindspan" has not. He says that can change depending on what we put on our plates.

The study wants us to limit our intake of red meat, but not for the reasons we've previously been told. Rather than concern over cholesterol, Dr. Estep believes an excess of iron could contribute to the deterioration of brain function.

PHOTOS: Notable people with Alzheimer's

Notable people with Alzheimer's
See Gallery
Notable people with Alzheimer's
This file photo dated 04 November, 1991 shows US President Ronald Reagan giving a speech at the dedication of the library bearing his name in Simi Valley, California. He was US president from 1981 to 1989 and retreated from public life after it was revealed he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. (Photo by J. David Ake, AFP/Getty Images)
In this Jan. 28, 2013, file photo, Tennessee head coach emeritus Pat Summitt smiles as a banner is raised in her honor before an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee seniors Cierra Burdick and Ariel Massengale were part of the last class of Lady Vols to play for Pat Summitt. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)
Glenn Campbell performs during The Goodbye Tour at the Ryman Auditorium on January 3, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ed Rode/Getty Images)
Picture dated 18 May 1991 of US actor Charles Bronson during the 44th Cannes film festival, southern France. Bronson died 30 August 2003 in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia. (Photo by Gerard Julien, AFP/Getty Images)
American painter Norman Rockwell, 75, poses in his Stockbridge, Mass., studio on Feb. 12, 1977. (AP Photo)
Boxer Sugar Ray Robinson in posed action, May 8, 1947. (AP Photo)
Abigail Van Buren, the 71-year-old advice columnist, was in Seattle to address the fall meeting of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association, Sept. 28, 1989. (AP Photo/Robert Kaiser)
Actor Peter Falk on March 10, 1989 at his home in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Undated file photo of American actress and film star Rita Hayworth.(AP Photo)
392653 01: Actor Burgess Meredith performs in the television show 'The Twilight Zone.' (Photo Courtesy of Sci Fi Channel/Getty Images)
Actress Estelle Getty of "The Golden Girls" is shown at Trumps Restaurant in West Hollywood Jan. 29, 1986. (AP Photo/Steve Dakes)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 31: Actor James Doohan recieves his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame August 31, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

People in countries with the longest "mindspans" like Japan, France, and Italy, have diets high in refined carbohydrates that Americans have been told to avoid.

Ingredients like white rice and pasta aren't the foods to create 6-pack abs, but they may protect your brain.

Fermented foods, like pickles and red wine are also thought to play a significant role in preventing Alzheimer's and dementia.

While this study doesn't give permission to skip the vegetables, it's nice to know we don't have to cut out happy hour.

More on
The 11 smartest pizza ordering hacks of all time
The most popular Halloween pet costumes for 2016
PepsiCo plans to cut sugar and calories to tackle obesity

Read Full Story

Sign up for Best Bites by AOL and receive delicious recipes delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.