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Eat well and protect your grey cells

IT’S A CLICHÉ, but you are what you eat – especially when it comes to your brain! So if you are tired of struggling to remember important dates or keep forgetting where you put your keys, then try changing your diet. We think you will be surprised by the difference over just a few months if you follow these guidelines. You can still eat the foods you like, but making a few small changes can have big results.

Fresh fish for Omega 3

Oily fish like Tuna, Mackerel and Salmon contain high levels of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. These fatty acids will do wonders for your general health, but one called DHA has been linked to improved memory function. DHA helps nerve cells to function better, so upping your intake will maximise your memory and recall. It has also been found that Alzheimer’s sufferers have reduce levels of DHA, so it is thought that Omega 3 could help protect against age related memory loss. Swapping oily fish for red meat has the added bonus of helping unclog your arteries. This means oxygen rich blood is more easily supplied to your brain, thus boosting your memory and sharpening your awareness.

Green leafy vegetables

Homocysteine is an amino acid which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. It can also damage your brain power as high levels can cause nerve cells to die off. Folic acid naturally breaks down homocysteine which can then be harmlessly passed out of your body. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale broccoli and brussels sprouts are packed with folic acid, so include these as part of your diet to protect you brain from homocysteine damage.

Avocado for Vitamin E

Vitamin E plays a vital role in protecting your brain from damaging free radicals. These molecules destroy valuable brain cells and set off a chain of decay which can lead to serious memory loss. Vitamin E levels have been found to be consistently below healthy levels in sufferers of Alzheimers. With only 10% of people getting the recommended amount of Vitamin E in their diet, you need to include a regular source as part of your meals. Vitamin E is found in leafy vegetables, nuts and olives, but Avocado is packed with this vital vitamin. It is also very high in Vitamin C which is also known to protect against age related memory loss.

Berry good health

Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents of any fruit so they’re great for protecting against heart disease and cancer. These antioxidants will also help prevent the cell damage which can lead to memory loss.

Blackberries have been shown in a recent study to protect against memory loss. Research by the U.S. Human Nutrition Research Center on Ageing suggests the polyphenols in dark berries improve cognitive function by helping to remove the build-up of toxic proteins in the brain, helping to protect against Alzheimer’s. Did you know that strawberries contain more Vitamin C than oranges? Vitamin C helps protect your brain against free radical damage. They can help with your digestion and Vitamin C also keeps your joints healthy.

Whole grain goodness

Fibre-rich whole grains are an integral part of the Mediterranean diet – research from Columbia University Medical Center in New York City shows that this diet may be linked to lower risk of the mild cognitive impairment that can progress to Alzheimer’s disease. Brown rice, whole grain pasta, wholemeal bread and other whole grain foods are rich in Vitamin E, Zinc and Magnesium. These are all vital to keep your memory fresh and fight off memory loss. They are also a great source of B Vitamins which guard against the brain ‘shrinkage’ which is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Lycopene from tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a powerful anti-oxidant known as lycopene. This compound is best known for it’s ability to fight cancer causing free radicals, but it also helps to protect nerve cells in your brain from damage. Tomatoes also help to lower levels of harmful cholesterol in your bloodstream – reducing your chances of suffering a stroke and making sure your brain gets the oxygen it needs to function.