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Brain Food!

Sasha Bernard
Brain Food

World Alzheimer’s day is acknowledged on September 21 every year, during World Alzheimer’s month. Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Though it is often referred to as a disease of the aged, and while age is a risk factor for the disease - Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging! Did you know that even though it’s less common, younger people may get Alzheimer’s disease too?

It’s important that we know about and understand this disease so that we can take better care of ourselves and our loved ones. For example, when we consider the warning signs of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, memory problems are typically listed at the top as one of the first. Because Alzheimer's is a progressive disease- meaning it worsens over time- it’s important to visit your physician the moment you feel like something isn’t right.

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease a huge component of its treatment is maintaining good brain health. Scientific evidence is showing that the same healthy behaviors known to prevent non communicable diseases may also reduce risk of subjective cognitive decline. 

Don’t wait until you’re older or for the first onset of symptoms. If you embrace a healthy lifestyle now, it may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future. This includes getting adequate physical activity, limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding smoking, getting enough sleep, managing your blood sugar, cholesterol & pressure and maintaining a healthy weight. 

Make sure your diet is nutritious and balanced and includes foods that are specifically known to boost your brain function and memory. Here are some of my favourite brain foods:

  • Fatty/oily fish (salmon, tuna, sardine) are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which has been linked to lower blood levels of the protein that forms damaging clumps in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
  • Research shows that the natural pigments in berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries) also help improve memory.
  • Nuts & Seeds (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds) are filled with a variety of healthy micronutrients. Walnuts specifically are high in ALA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid which has been linked to lower blood pressure and cleaner arteries. 
  • Green, leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage) are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene which may help slow cognitive decline.
  • The high magnesium content in avocados/pears is important for proper brain function.
  • Coffee’s caffeine and antioxidant content may also offer some protection against Alzheimer’s.

Did You Know?

For optimum health we need to monitor our intake of fats, sugars, and sodium. ‘Daily Values’ are reference amounts of nutrients to consume (and not exceed) each day. The ‘% Daily Value’ (%DV) on a label refers to the percentage of the Daily Value for each nutrient in a serving of the product.