EAT TO CHEAT BRAIN AGEING
It’s not a myth — the right foods can super-charge your memory, thinking and problem solving. Learn what to eat to upgrade your brain power!
It’s not a myth — eating the right foods really can super-charge your memory, thinking and problem solving
Do you sometimes wish you could boost your grey matter with more RAM, speed and processing ability? Although you can’t install a whole new operating system like you would do in a computer, you can upgrade your brain function using the foods you put on your plate.
“Healthy foods are now linked with slowing the ageing process in your brain,” says Catherine Itsiopoulos, Professor and founding head of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at Melbourne’s La Trobe University. “The right food may enhance brain function, and help protect your memory, as well as your ability to think clearly and quickly. In the long term, a healthy diet also appears to protect against conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” she says.
such as long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids and flavonoids that are found in vegetables and fresh fruit, and polyphenols found in wine, legumes and nuts.”
Before you reach for a big bowl of pasta, consider this: “When people think of the Mediterranean diet, they think of special-occasion meat dishes like lasagne or roasted lamb, but the traditional diet was in fact largely vegetarian,” says Itsiopoulos. “Each person ate half a kilo of vegetables per day, often in casseroles, where you would get many different types of vegetables, such as peas, carrots, artichokes and zucchini.”
They also ate plenty of dark, leafy greens. “Endives, chicory, silverbeet, spinach and other wild greens were picked from the fields and regularly eaten,” Itsiopoulos explains. “They are high in healthy nutrients called lutein and beta-carotene.”
All these healthy nutrients are the likely reason that the Mediterranean diet appears to offer some protection against degenerative brain diseases such as dementia.
“A recent systematic review of 11 studies worldwide showed that when people closely follow a Mediterranean-style diet they have a 50 per cent reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s,” says Itsiopoulos. “In another study of 7500 middle-aged people, those on Mediterranean diets had improved memory scores.”
For delicious , Mediterr aneaninspired recipes, turn to p44