Six foods for a brain-healthy diet

Caroline Cassidy
Brain healthy diet
Brain healthy diet

Pic: Getty

A healthy diet can help to protect you against an array of health problems and long-term conditions, and research has shown that eating the right foods can even reduce your risk of developing dementia in later life. Add these ingredients to your plate, and it could help to keep your brain healthy well into old age.

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Oily fish
Those good old omega-3 fatty acids are the key here, in particular a type known as DHA, which is necessary for normal brain development and could keep maintain a healthy brain as we age. Research suggests that just one portion of oily fish a week, such as mackerel, salmon, trout or tuna, could slow cognitive decline by 10 per cent.

Dark-skinned vegetables
Eating your greens, not to mention your reds and purples, will ensure you are getting the most antioxidants for your money. According to the Alzheimer's Association, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red pepper and aubergine are a few of the veggies that will give you the best antioxidant hit, and protect your brain in the process.

Plenty of vitamin C is a must if you are to keep that grey matter in tiptop shape, and berries are packed full of this health-giving substance. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries will provide a healthy dose, no just of vitamin C but antioxidants too, and oranges, red grapes and cherries are also great additions to your fruit bowl.

A study by researchers at the St Luke's Medical Center in Chicago found that people who consumed the most vitamin E from their diet reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer's by 67 per cent compared to those who ate the least. Nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, so grab yourself a handful and protect your own nut.

In countries where curry is a staple of the diet, the incidence of Alzheimer's is lower than in the Western world, and it is thought turmeric, or more specifically curcumin, which provides the yellow colour, could be the reason. It is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and prevents amyloid proteins, clumps of which have been found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, from grouping together.
Leafy greens
Alongside your dark-skinned vegetables, keep a ready supply of leafy greens to keep your brain healthy. The B vitamins within veg like kale, spinach and cabbage, maintain healthy levels of an amino acid that impairs brain function, while a lack of folate can cause problems when it comes to performing cognitive tasks.

Do you worry about the risk of dementia or Alzheimer's, and have you changed your diet to help protect your brain? Leave your comments below...