Three easy ways diet can improve brain health
Dementia is becoming one of our greatest public health challenges, with cases in the UK predicted to soar by 75 per cent from just over 900,000 today to 1.6 million by 2050. It’s already the leading cause of death for females in this country for a decade according to research, and second only to heart disease for men. Obesity and high blood sugar are both risk factors for dementia, so what we eat is key to helping preserve our brain health. Here are three things you can add to your diet to protect your brain health.
- Eat lots of leafy greens
We all know that eating your greens is good for you. A recent report in the Journal of Neurology found that having a daily serving – 65g of raw or cooked – of green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, chard and watercress was associated with slower age-related cognitive decline. There are many reasons greens are known to be beneficial in particular for brain health due to:
Antioxidants: Green vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which can protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of various diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Vitamins and minerals: Green vegetables are also rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for brain health, such as vitamin K, folate, and iron. Vitamin K, for example, is important for cognitive function, while folate has been linked to a reduced risk of cognitive decline.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Many green vegetables contain anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help reduce inflammation in the brain. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of neurological disorders, including depression, anxiety, and dementia.
Fibre: Green vegetables are also a good source of fibre, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. There is a large body of research which shows that the health of the gut microbiome is linked to brain health and cognitive function. Incorporating a variety of green vegetables into your diet can be a simple and effective way to support brain health and reduce the risk of neurological disorders.
- Spice things up
We love using a variety of tasty herbs and spices in our dishes at The Pure Package, not just because they add flavour but also because of their many benefits to your health. There are several spices that are believed to have potential benefits for brain health. Some of these spices are:
Turmeric: Turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some studies suggest that curcumin may help protect the brain from age-related decline and may also improve memory and mood.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It has been suggested that cinnamon may help improve cognitive function and memory.
Sage: Sage contains compounds that have been shown to enhance cognitive function and improve memory. It may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could benefit brain health.
Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help protect the brain from damage caused by oxidative stress. Some studies suggest that ginger may also have neuroprotective effects that could help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
Rosemary: Rosemary contains compounds that may improve cognitive function and memory, as well as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The aroma of rosemary is also thought to have a positive impact on cognitive function.
- Bulk up on berries
We love including berries in many of our nutritious breakfast recipes or as a snack (we’d recommend trying our delicious homemade carrot, berry & almond bar)
A recent study by the University of East Anglia found that participants, aged 50-80, eating a cup of cranberries per day had better memory performance and improved circulation of essential nutrients to the brain to those who didn’t. Researchers attribute this to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds they contain. Other types of berries also contain those all-important plant chemicals, so if you aren’t so keen on cranberries be sure to eat more berries generally.
At The Pure Package, our mission is to help people become healthier and happier through a nutritionally balanced diet. If you’re looking to improve your mental health and boost your mood, consider our meal programmes that have been carefully designed to give you all the essential vitamins, minerals and fats you need to function at your best.