Mind Your Diet
A balanced diet
promotes brain health
link between diet and brain health is becoming increasingly
recognised by health professionals. A good diet is also
essential for a healthy heart. While we have known for some
time that too many saturated fats and salt can cause heart
disease, research now tells us that they can also increase
the risk of vascular
One study showed people who consumed a diet rich in fats had
a risk of Alzheimer’s disease 2.2 times higher than those
people with a low fat content in their diet. Researchers
working independently on two continents found evidence to
support the dietary intake of antioxidants such as vitamins
E, C and beta
carotene as they may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The build-up of free radicals in the brain may contribute to
plaque formation which is associated with Alzheimer’s
disease. Antioxidants help to neutralise free radicals. A
diet with adequate food sources of vitamin E may be
protective, especially if taken as a normal part of dietary
intake. If sufficient dietary vitamin
E cannot be assured, a moderate dose supplement could be
considered, but definitely not more than 400 mg a day.
A study of 370 people in Sweden showed Alzheimer’s disease
developed twice as frequently in those who had low vitamin
B12 and folate levels. It was reported that supplements with
0.8 mg daily of folate protected against cognitive decline −
and was safe. Folate and vitamin B12 are necessary for cell
while deficiencies have been associated with neurological
conditions including cognitive impairment and dementia.
The evidence is heartening. By adopting a balanced diet you
may reduce your risk of dementia in later life. Remember, a
brain-healthy diet is most effective when combined with
physical and mental activity and social interaction.
Eat brain healthy food daily
Reduce saturated fats
Eat mainly lean red meat and chicken, and choose low-fat or
Eat protective foods
HDL (or good) cholesterol foods such as: olive oil,
avocados, olives, nuts, seeds and fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce dementia. Foods
include: soy and canola oils, canola-based margarines, fish,
especially oily varieties (Atlantic salmon, mackerel,
southern blue-fin tuna), trevally and sardines at least once
or twice a week.
Antioxidant-rich foods including: prunes, raisins,
blueberries, other berries, spinach, brussels sprouts,
plums, broccoli, beetroot, avocados, oranges, red grapes,
capsicum, cherries, kiwi fruit, onions, corn and eggplant.
Antioxidant-rich drinks including: green tea, tea and
red wine (in moderation).
Folate including: oranges, mandarins, bananas,
rock-melons, strawberries, avocados, corn, broccoli,
cabbage, cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnips, whole
grain cereals and oats, peanuts, meat and soya.
Adopt a healthy food lifestyle rather than a short-term diet
and eat in moderation.
Remember to include sufficient vitamins
Vitamin E rich foods include: vegetable oils, nuts, green
leafy vegetables and fortified cereals.
Obtaining vitamins from food sources is best; however,
consider vitamin supplements if needed – but definitely not
more than 400 mg of vitamin E a day.
Vitamin E can interact with other medications, e.g.
increased risk of bleeding if on Warfarin, so people should
first discuss commencement with their doctor.
Drink six to eight glasses of water every day unless
medically advised to restrict fluids. Avoid excessive
caffeine or alcohol as these remove water from the body.
Source: extract from Mind Your Mind,