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Eating for Brain Health

Eating well is a great way to keep your brain sharp as you age and can help to reduce the risk of conditions like Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol that have been linked with an increased risk of dementia*.

If you need advice about changing your diet, or would like support with healthy eating, ECH can help.

ECH Dietitian Sandy Cummings says, “we’re here to support you every step of the way, including helping to keep you motivated. ECH Dietitians can also help nutrition become a natural part of your daily life and can provide information on how to best manage health conditions.”

Here are some great food choices to boost your brain health*.

Antioxidants

Generally, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which are great for your brain, so aim to eat a rainbow of colours and you can’t go far wrong. Good sources of antioxidants include tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, cranberries, oranges, carrots, strawberries and pecan nuts.

Omega-3 fats

Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, as well as eggs, walnuts and flaxseed oil are all great sources of Omega-3 fats. These protect blood vessels in the body and may prevent inflammation in the brain and lower dementia risk.

Legumes

Legumes, which include beans, peanuts, lentils and chickpeas, pack a nutritional punch of low fat, high fibre, high protein and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Studies have also shown increased consumption of legumes is also associated with living longer.

B group vitamins

Vitamin B12 is essential for a healthy brain and nervous system, and Folate (B9) is important for production of new cells. Good sources of B12 vitamins include lean meat, poultry, eggs, milk and fortified breakfast
cereal. Folate can be found in leafy green vegetables, sunflower seeds and many fruit and vegetables.

Avoid saturated fats

Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of saturated fat have a higher risk of dementia. These include butter, lard, coconut oil, cakes and biscuits, so it’s recommended to only eat these in moderation or swap them for something heathier, for example swap butter for a healthier margarine or spread.

* https://www.dementia.org.au/information/risk-reduction/look-after-your-heart, Look after your heart
* https://www.dementia.org.au/sites/default/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-DementiaQandA07-WhatYouEatAndDrinkAndYourBrain_english.pdf, What you eat and drink and your brain