During this period of self isolation and social distancing it’s more important than ever to eat as healthily as we can, this is particularly so if you are a carer or someone with dementia – you need to stay well, and nutrition is the key. Although access to certain foods may be limited at present, wherever possible you should make choices that include the foods on the list below. Studies carried out in Canada have linked eating certain foods with a reduced risk of dementia, the same researchers took their investigations one step further and suggested that a combination of these brain healthy foods might actually provide enhanced protection against cognitive decline.
1. Raw leafy greens
Darker greens, such as spinach, kale and romaine, have more brain-boosting antioxidants and vitamin K. Try to consume at least 150grams daily
2. Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts are high in vitamin K and glucosinolates, which have an antioxidant effect. Include at least three 75gram servings in your diet every week.
All berries have a positive effect on brain health, but blueberries have been studied the most. They contain flavonoids, which activate brain pathways associated with less cellular aging. Try to consume 75 grams of any berries three times a week.
It’s unknown exactly what makes beans, lentils and chickpeas good for brain health, but it’s likely due to a combination of antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Include 75 grams in your diet as a replacement for red meat at least twice a week.
Unsalted nuts are high in antioxidants and healthy fats. Walnuts are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acid, a brain-protective nutrient. Aim for 35 grams of nuts once a day
The iodine and iron in all types of fish are thought to help maintain cognitive function. Fattier fish, like salmon and trout, also contain brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. Include fish in your diet twice a week
7. Whole grains
Choose fibre-rich whole grains like oats, brown rice and whole-grain wheat to offset your intake of refined grains.
Substitute chicken for red or processed meat whenever appropriate, remembering to only have one portion a day.
9. Low fat dairy
Opt for 1% or skim milk and yogurt, or cheese with 22% milk fat or less.
10. Olive oil
Use this as your main oil for cooking and in salad dressing. It contains monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, as well as antioxidants.