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Tuesday, 02 January 2018 04:00

Superfoods for Brain Health as you age

One of the most vital organs to look after as you age is your brain. Research has shown that there is a direct link between certain compounds found in foods and a decreased rate of the onset of certain mental diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

 

In general, your diet is one of the most powerful weapons you have to fend off a myriad of diseases and conditions as you age. Most importantly, it’s extremely powerful in maintaining your brain health for as long as possible.

As you grow older, there are certain superfoods which are vital to include in your diet. Not only do they help to fend off disease, but they also help to boost your memory and overall well-being.

Make sure to include these food items in your next grocery haul:

  • Leafy Green Vegetables

These include the likes of spinach, broccoli, variations of lettuce, kale, swiss chard and rocket. Most of these vegetables are high in vitamin-K, which is not a naturally produced vitamin by the body. It therefore needs to be supplemented in your diet.

It’s important to note that seniors on blood-thinning medications should avoid vegetables especially high in vitamin-K, such as kale, as this could cause medication interactions.

  • Fish, Seeds & Nuts

These food items are high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help in slowing down the onset or progression of Alzheimer’s. These natural fats are extremely beneficial to overall health as well, helping to control cholesterol levels and build strong bones.

  • Coffee, Chocolate & Spices

Yes, it’s true! Coffee and chocolate is, in fact, good for you – but in moderate amounts, as with most things in life. The caffeine contained in both chocolate and coffee is shown to improve memory recall and brain function.

Certain spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and turmeric have incredible cognitive benefits, not-to-mention anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and blood gluco-regulatory properties.

  • Dark-Skinned Fruits

These different types of fruits are high in antioxidants and help to reduce plaques in the brain which are associated with brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Berries such as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries as well as oranges, plums and nectarines are worth incorporating into your daily diet.

  • Healthy Oils

The likes of extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are essential to add to the daily diet of a senior. Certain compounds found in both these types of oils include polyphenols, which studies have shown are neuroprotective to the brain and assist in slowing the progression of diseases such as dementia.

While much of the nutrient value in these foods can be found in nutritional supplements and pill form, these nutrients are far more effectively absorbed and utilised by the body in the form of food. Take care of your brain – it’s the only one you’ve got!

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