Having a healthy diet is important for all ages, but it is even more essential for people aged 50 and over. Having a brain-healthy diet increases the chance of maintaining a healthy, switched-on and active brain over our lifetime and reduces the risk of cognitive issues and diseases such as alzheimers and dementia. As we age, we need to be more aware of how our food choices affect our bodies and especially our minds.
Below are some foods and tips that will assist in keeping the brain healthier and happier.
Lower your sugar intake and avoid over-processed foods
Foods containing lots of sugar and over processed foods such as white flour, white rice, and pasta can dramatically affect blood sugar levels which inflame your brain and can lead to a decrease in brain tissue which can contribute to dementia. Make sure when you’re out shopping, or getting someone to shop for you, that you keep an eye out for the amount of sugars in the packaged food you buy, including in low-fat products.
Experience new types of food or diets such as the Mediterranean diet
Many studies show that eating a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain deterioration. That means plenty of vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is built around these plant-based foods. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry, eggs and seafood are also part of a balanced diet.
Increase your healthy fat intake
Evidence suggests that healthy fats such as omega 3 may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Foods that contain these healthy fats include fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, seaweed, and sardines.
Eat more fruit, vegetables and leafy greens
Make sure your diet consists of lots of nutritious fruits and vegetables – the more the better. Consume fruits and vegetables with a whole range of colours such as berries, melons, broccoli, leafy greens, carrots and squash as they are packed with beneficial antioxidants and vitamins. According to studies a pigment in leafy vegetables such as kale can boost up grey matter in the part of the brain which affects memory.
Cook at home more often
Ensure you cook at home or share a home cooked meal with friends or family regularly. When you cook at home, you can see your ingredients and you can ensure that you’re eating fresh, nutritious meals that are high in healthy nutrients. Not only is this important but the process of sharing and eating with others is pleasurable and stimulates your brain which creates endorphins and can give improve the emotional state of your brain.
Drink more water.
Water is a major factor in keeping our brains healthy as we age. Our bodies are made up of 60% water and 80% of the brains content is water and requires water to function properly, so it makes sense to ensure water is a key part of your daily diet. The brain is very sensitive to dehydration, and even a slight loss of water can cause symptoms such as “brain fog”, fatigue, dizziness, confusion and even brain shrinkage. Drinking up to 3 litres of water daily keeps the brain hydrated and assists in improving its efficiency and functionality. Cut back or try to avoid other beverages such as tea, coffee and sugary sodas as over consumption of these beverages can have a negative effect on the brain and your body.