16 February 2018
Brain foods that can stave off Alzheimer’s
We are all well aware that healthy eating can help us live longer and stay fitter, but did you know some foods could also help you ward off progressive conditions like Alzheimer’s? Some foods have been classified as ‘brain food’, and have been scientifically proven to protect and care for our grey matter, keeping us sharper for longer.
Research has shown that there is a 53 per cent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease if you follow the MIND diet. This is based on a Mediterranean diet with elements of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, both of which have been shown to improve heart health. But now it’s been proven that by looking after your heart, you can look after your brain as well.
Here are some of the foods which are included on the MIND diet, as well as some other interesting ingredients which could help you stave off dementia.
An Indian meal could do more for you than just tantalise your taste buds. In fact, according to a study in 2009, eating a curry dish containing turmeric at least once or twice each week could prevent the development of plaque which is commonly found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
If you love a few florets of broccoli with your dinner, you could be doing your bit to keep your brain healthier too. This tasty veg contains lots of vitamin K, linked to stronger cognitive abilities, and folic acid, which is said to fight Alzheimer’s. It also contains a macronutrient called Choline which has been found to improve memory.
Extra virgin olive oil
Adopting a more Mediterranean diet has been shown to boost heart health, but it’s also been shown to be beneficial in keeping your brain healthy too. Olive oil, in its extra virgin form, contains a comfortable dose of a substance called oleocanthal which boosts the production of important proteins and enzymes used in the breakdown of plaque in the brain.
Along with olive oil, another way to go more Mediterranean and keep your brain healthy is by including more omega-3 rich fish in your diet. Fish like mackerel, trout, sardines and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help protect your brain as you age. You can also get a dose of omega-3 from beans as well as some types of nuts and seeds.
Yes, milk could hold the key to keeping you Alzheimer’s free for longer. A study conducted in the US found that drinking three glasses of milk every day could protect the brain from damage thanks to a natural antioxidant.
Purple coloured fruit, such as plums and blueberries, should be a firm fixture on your menu too, as a study by Manchester University discovered they can ward off Alzheimer’s and other diseases including MS and Parkinson’s. They do this by soaking up compounds of iron, proven to produce damaging toxins which can lead to degenerative diseases.
You thought you were reading a healthy eating list, and then you see chocolate. When you’ve picked up your jaw, we’ll explain. The caffeine and antioxidants in chocolate are actually really good at staving off age related memory impairment, helping your brain stay sharp for longer. As with anything, you can have too much of a good thing, but a little of what you like occasionally could do you more good than you thought.
Unfortunately, no foods are guaranteed to stop you developing Alzheimer’s, but by being more mindful of what we put in our mouths, we can live a little healthier and give our mind and body the best chance of staying well for longer.
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