Dementia prevention: Best foods and everyday habits to boost brain power

Dementia: Expert discusses the signs and symptoms

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (ANSS) noted that the brain controls “thoughts, memory, speech and movement”, as well as regulating the heart beat and breathing rates. Brain disease, therefore, can have detrimental effects. “The brain is made up of two types of cells: neurons and glial cells,” explained the AANS. “The neuron is responsible for sending and receiving nerve impulses” while the more numerous glial cells provide “support and nutrition”.

“While it’s inevitable that our brain power may deteriorate a little as we age, there appears to be plenty we can do on a daily basis to support our brains to function optimally,” said Braye.

Mediterranean diet

A Mediterranean diet is full of fruits, vegetables and salads with olive oil and fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

“Research is indicating the popular Mediterranean diet may help improve our brain power,” added Braye.

Antioxidants

Braye noted that the brain is “vulnerable to the damaging effects of free radicals and oxidative stress”.

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To help counteract this, the consumption of antioxidants could “help protect the brain”.

When choosing vegetables, “the deeper the colour, the stronger the protective antioxidant effect [it has]”.

Examples include purple grapes and blueberries, which have been shown to improve “cognitive performance and long-term memory” while “slowing down cognitive decline”.

Cinnamon

Braye recommended adding cinnamon to your porridge oats in the morning to help balance blood sugar levels.

“High blood sugar and subsequent high insulin could lead to damaged brain cells,” warned Braye.

Fermented foods

Another suggestion from Braye is to experiment with consuming fermented food.

“Fermentation is an ancient form of preservation used before the invention of the refrigerator,” she explained.

“The most common fermented foods are yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha.”

If you’d prefer a supplement, Braye recommended Bio-Kult Mind, which contains live bacteria and zinc.

“Zinc contributes to normal cognitive function and the protection of cells from oxidative stress,” she commented.

12-hour gap

In regards to diet, Braye said it’s important to consider what time of day you choose to eat.

“Leaving at least 12 hours overnight without food intake is said to give our brains time to repair,” she noted.

She continued: “By ensuring you eat your evening meal before 8pm and your breakfast after 8am you should be able to manage this easily.”

Exercise

As well as dietary considerations, Braye recommended exercising to “improve cognitive function”.

Getting some fresh air everyday, during sunshine hours, is highly advised.

“Research shows that light can stimulate brain blood flow and circulation,” said Braye.

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