Maintaining your brain health is one of the best things you can do to make the most of it.
Thankfully, there’s plenty food that can help support brain health.
In fact, a specialised diet called MIND (or the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) that has been put together by medical researchers.
What it’s all about?
Well, it has identified foods rich in compounds that have been shown to protect and nourish the brain.
Here are 3 easy ways to include them in your diet.
1. Start with fruit and veg
It’s a list we are becoming familiar with for overall good health, but leafy greens, berries, other colourful fruit and veg, herbs and spices are also top brain foods.
Not only are they important for the antioxidant polyphenols they contain but eating a variety of whole plant foods is key to keeping the gut/brain axis firing by way of a healthy microbiome.
An interesting salad goes a long way to ensuring you are getting enough variety.
Make a delicious rainbow salad by taking a large carrot, a courgette and half a cucumber and, using a vegetable peeler, shave into fine ribbons.
Add a red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced.
For the dressing mix two tsp soy sauce, one tsp honey, one tbsp lemon juice, one tbsp tahini, one tbsp peanut butter, a clove of finely grated garlic and 2cm of finely grated ginger.
Add a little water to loosen if necessary.
2. Focus on healthy fats
A 2017 study found that people with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds) had increased blood flow to the brain.
The researchers also identified a connection between omega-3 levels and better cognition (or thinking abilities).
Another type of healthy fat, extra virgin olive oil, has also been linked to delaying cognitive decline and the onset of dementia, so this should be your oil of choice in the kitchen.
You can get a good hit of healthy fat with this tasty salsa verde to have with your favourite oily fish.
Place three tbsp extra virgin olive oil, a peeled shallot, a small bunch each of parsley and basil, two tbsp capers, four tinned anchovies, one garlic clove and juice of a lemon in a blender and whizz to a thick, green sauce.
3. Have nuts every day
Nuts deserve a special mention because as well as being a healthy, fibre-rich snack they boast some impressive brain health benefits too.
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Almonds are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that absorbs damaging free radicals that can target brain cells, while walnuts contain those all-important omega-3 fats.
Make a lovely nutty granola by mixing 200g rolled oats, 100g mixed seeds, 50g flaked almonds, 50g chopped walnuts and a tsp cinnamon in a bowl.
Whizz up four pitted Medjool dates with two egg whites in a blender until well combined.
Add to the bowl and mix to make sure all the dry ingredients are well coated.
Bake in the oven at 150C for 30-40 minutes until crisp.
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