Look after your brain – 5 foods that protect and maintain brain health

There is now much more research on the human brain and what protects and maintains healthy brain cells.  There are a number of foods that seem to have a beneficial impact.  Those most written about include:

Kale – leafy green vegetables like Kale are rich in fibre and antioxidants.  Antioxidants include lutein, carotenoids and beta-carotene, all of which fight cell damage.  A study in 2017, from the University of Illinois, with people in middle age, found that those with higher levels of lutein had brain responses more like younger people.

Turmeric – has amazing anti-inflammatory properties.  Inflammation is the body’s response to illness or injury.  In addition to being good for your joints, a recent study of older people suggested that Turmeric, taken daily can improve both memory and general mood.

Berries, particularly Strawberries and Blueberries – these have been dubbed ‘brain food’ because they protect against brain degeneration. They are rich in flavonoids and a good anti-oxidant.  Research studies have shown that Blueberries (one of the highest anti-oxidant rich foods) improve the brain function of people over 65.

Avocado – a super food that supports blood flow to the brain and helps focus as well as reducing blood pressure.

Oily Fish such as Mackerel, Salmon, Herrings and Sardines - all contain Omega 3 which is essential for the development and maintenance of brain tissue.

In addition, Sage, Rosemary and Peppermint all seem to improve brain function and olive oil has been found to protect memory and reduce the formation of the damaging plaques that are found in patients with Dementia.  Finally, dark chocolate, with high levels of cocoa, also encourages blood flow to the brain.

Of course it is not just food that affects your brain, a landmark 44 year study in Germany, published in 2018, showed that women who were physically fit in mid-life had a whopping 90 percent less risk of developing Dementia.  So, along with eating well, make sure you are exercising.  See our blog on what exercises to do after 50 .