The ketogenic diet, which involves reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat consumption is widely practiced for its potential health benefits. While most people associate the keto diet with weight loss, it may also have positive effects on brain health.
Improved Cognitive Function
Studies suggest that the keto diet can improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and focus. The diet puts the body in a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of glucose. This process can lead to the production of ketones, which are known to have neuroprotective properties.
One study found that elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment who followed a ketogenic diet for six weeks showed improvements in cognitive function and memory. Another study in children with epilepsy found that those who followed a keto diet for one year had improved cognitive function compared to those who did not.
Reduced Risk of Neurological Disorders
The keto diet may also have a protective effect against neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Alzheimer's is characterized by the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, while Parkinson's is caused by the death of dopamine-producing neurons.
Studies have shown that the keto diet can reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance, all of which are risk factors for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Additionally, the diet may increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that promotes the growth and survival of neurons.