Diet, Nutrition and the Brain

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Brain Nutrition

Researchers have already done a lot of work to find foods that are best for our brain health. There is even a specific diet that incorporates all of these superfoods for the brain and it has well known and researched parents.

How does nutrition affect the brain?

What should I eat to support my brain?

Eating certain foods, and avoiding others,has been shown to slow brain ageing by 7.5 years!

Try introducing some of the following healthy brain foods to your diet over the coming weeks and see if you notice the difference.

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale should be eaten daily if you are hoping to improve the health of your brain with your diet. As little as one serving a day has been shown to slow brain ageing due to nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta carotene.

Broccoli contains vitamin C and flavonoids, which reduce oxidative stress, boost brain health and lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Limit your sugar intake to natural sources such as berries.

Berries such as blueberries and raspberries also contain flavonoids and other antioxidants that improve memory and help improve communication between brain cells.

Wholegrain foods include brown rice, barley, oatmeal and whole-grain bread and pasta. These contain lots of brain enriching nutrients such as vitamins B and E, magnesium, selenium and a range of antioxidants.

However, wholegrains have another brain boosting feature. Wholegrains provide a steady supply of energy to the brain due to its low glycaemic index, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. They also promote good blood flow to the brain, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Nuts are an excellent snack due to their many brain health benefits and how they make you feel full. They are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats.

In particular, walnuts are high in a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which has been linked to lower blood pressure and cleaner arteries with their associated brain health benefits. Also, almonds are high in vitamin E that contributes to improved cognition and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Seeds are also brain superfoods with pumpkin seeds being an excellent source of magnesium, iron, zinc and copper, as well being a powerful antioxidant.

Olive oil is particularly high in natural antioxidants called polyphenols and is a significant source of vitamins E and K. Vitamin E helps to maintain a good memory, especially in the presence of vitamin C. Olive oil also boosts levels of two critical brain chemicals for neuroplasticity to occur, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF). 

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the best form to use. EVOO differs from other types of olive oil because it is cold pressed and meets high standards for low acidity. Buy EVOO in dark bottles because light can cause oxidation. Also, avoid “light, extra light or pure” because these are not genuine EVOO.

If you are a carnivore you should certainly diversify your diet with oily fish that contain high levels of omega-3s like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy unsaturated fats that are a major building block of the brain and have been linked to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, which is the protein that can forms damaging clumps in the brain. Omega-3s play a role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against cognitive decline.

If you’re not a fan of fish, you could get your omega-3 quote from sources such as flaxseeds, soybeans, avocados and walnuts.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Knowing is not enough. we must apply.

Willing is not enough, we must do.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Author and Scientist