Brain health: Eat your way to better cognitive health to reduce your risk of dementia

Dementia: Expert discusses the signs and symptoms

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The human brain is made of food, so what we eat, and drink affects our ability to keep a healthy, alert and active mind. With dementia diagnosis on the rise, now more than ever, is the time to eat your way to better brain health. How?

Dietitian and nutritionist, Sian Porter has spent over 30 years encouraging people to eat well for health, mood and energy levels, and believes eating a plant-based diet can play a key part.

Porter said, “Your diet plays a fundamental role in a healthy lifestyle at home, at work and during leisure time.

“And yet, when nutrition is discussed, many focuses solely on our body, rather than our mind too.

“We recognize the impact of diet on diabetes, cancer risk, teeth, and heart health, but we talk a lot less about how food affects our brains.

“Now we have a growing body of evidence that eating well has the potential to increase and maintain energy levels, improve mood and even boost brain power.

“It doesn’t have to be complicated; simple, tasty, quick and nutritious choices can tick all the boxes.”

Porter reveals top foods to help boost brain power which include:

Plant-based proteins such as lentils, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, soya (calcium set tofu)

These provide iron which helps maintain cognitive function and reduce tiredness and fatigue.

They also contain niacin (vitamin B3) which helps release energy from food and normal psychological function.

High fibre starchy carbs including wholegrains, such as brown rice, quinoa

These provide slow-release energy to help power your brain, nutrients such as thiamin (vitamin B1), and selenium; a lack of which may increase the chance of feeling depressed and negative mood.

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Fruit and vegetables

These are key for providing vitamins such as vitamin C to aid iron absorption, and folate which helps maintain normal psychological function.

Calcium-containing foods, such as yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, nuts and dried fruits

Calcium contributes to normal function of digestive enzymes and helps to release energy from food.

A drink for hydration

Water is best for concentration and alertness.

Improve your brain health with the following:

Control your blood pressure to reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys to keep you healthier longer.

Cut cholesterol levels as it contributes to plaque that can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and strokes.

Reduce blood sugar. High levels can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.

Get Active – Living an active life is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and those you love. Simply put, daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life.

Eat Better – A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you improve your chances for feeling good and staying healthy – for life!

Lose Weight – When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. You lower your blood pressure.

Stop Smoking – Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Increase your magnesium for better brain health

“Magnesium is essential for normal brain function,” says neurologist Dr Larry Goldstein, chairman of the neurology department.

He added: “And eating a balanced diet is the ideal way to get what you need, he says.

“Magnesium may also help ease migraine and lower blood pressure.

“The fourth most abundant mineral in your body, magnesium is essential for hundreds of enzyme reactions that affect everything from bones and blood sugar to nerves and brain cells.”

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