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Brain Food: Diet's Role in Preventing Conditions like Dementia

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*This program originally aired on March 6, 2018.

The human brain has substantially different dietary needs than other organs, and new research suggests that diet may play a large role in the development of dementia, obesity, and even ability to sleep.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with neuroscientist and nutritionist Lisa Mosconi, whose new book, Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power, explains how diet affects brain power and health.

Mosconi says that if she had to pick one food that’s best for brain health, she would say caviar.

“I understand it’s expensive and I understand it’s not practical, but from a scientific perspective, the nutritional composition of caviar is a fantastic complement to whatever nutrients your brain needs for health and cognitive fitness.”

In lieu of caviar, she says that some fish are rich in a certain type of fat that the brain needs. Those fish include salmon, trout, herring, and anchovies.

And for those who don’t eat seafood, Mosconi suggests preparing Buddha bowls, which consist of grains, vegetables, greens, beans, and healthy fats, like avocado or cashews.

Patrick Schlievert, professor and head of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa, also joins the discussion.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River