Chances are, when we think of brain training the first things that spring to mind are mental arithmetic, Sudoku, training apps and exercises. While mental stimulation does have a lot to do with boosting our brain power, nutrition cannot be overlooked. Nutrition is often underestimated in its influence on future disease but the fact is that people who have elevated blood sugar from eating a low-fat, high-carb diet have twice the likelihood of a decline in cognitive behaviour and dementia. In other words no matter how many brain exercises you do you will not have a brain that functions if you don’t feed it correctly.
Your brain needs lots of different nutrients to develop and function properly. Research is showing that we can increase our chances of maintaining a healthy brain into old age by adding some ‘smart’ foods into our diet. By upping our body’s ability to increase its own production of antioxidants, our body can neutralise free radicals that are believed to accelerate the progression of cancers and age-related disease.
Top foods for boosting brain health:
Turmeric helps to activate genes that keep your brain clear of waste build-up that causes inflammation that weakens or destroys brain cells. Population studies have revealed a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s in the Indian population where turmeric is much used. Have a teaspoon daily!
Yes, really. Your cup of coffee in the morning (provided it’s good quality and free of sweeteners and processed milk) can activate your Nrf2 pathways and decrease inflammation.
3. Wild Salmon
Salmon is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function and anti-inflammatory properties. Opt for any oily fish and try to get this into your diet at least once a week.
4. Nuts & Seeds
This is a great source of Vitamin E and plant based omega 3, high levels of which correlate with less cognitive decline as you get older. Try snacking on walnuts, almonds, cashews, sesame or flax seeds, inca inchi, or add to salads and other dishes. Go for raw, activated or roasted unsalted nuts.
A rich source of mono-saturated fats, avocado contributes to healthy blood flow, which in turn means a healthy brain. Avo’s can also lower blood pressure so are a great little super food!
Eggs are a leading source of choline, a precursor or acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that can improve memory. Have free range eggs, including the yolk, to improve cognitive performance. Eggs are also high in DHA which helps activate antioxidant production.
- Excess carbs
- High sugar intake
- Refined and manufactured oils, such as margarine and canola oil