The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - NUTRITION -

Epi­gal­lo­cat­e­chin3-gal­late ( EGCG)

EGCG is a nu­tri­ent in green tea. Its car­dio­vas­cu­lar ben­e­fits are well known, but its pos­i­tive ef­fects on brain cells are a more re­cent dis­cov­ery. EGCG helps gen­er­ate neu­ron cells in the hip­pocam­pus, the area of the brain that pro­cesses in­for­ma­tion from short-term to long-term mem­ory. A 2017 re­view of green tea and its ef­fects on cog­ni­tion, mood and brain func­tion sup­ported its ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects. Two or three cups a day are ideal.


Quercetin is found in let­tuce, ap­ples, onions, berries, broc­coli, toma­toes and guavas. “In the longer term, in ro­dent mod­els, it’s ben­e­fit­ted cog­ni­tion, learn­ing and mem­ory,” Beart says.


Age­ing is linked to lower brain lev­els of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, ac­cord­ing to UK-based nu­tri­tion pro­fes­sors Ri­cardo Uauy and Alan Dan­gour. Fish and fish oil tablets are good sources of it.


Turmeric is a herb with an an­tiox­i­dant and an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory ef­fect that you can use in cook­ing or take as a sup­ple­ment. When tested on peo­ple with Alzheimer’s dis­ease, turmeric helped re­duce in­flam­ma­tion. “Turmeric con­tains cur­cumin, which is a free rad­i­cal scavenger,” Hill says. “Free rad­i­cals in our body cause dam­age and in­crease the like­li­hood of in­flam­ma­tory dis­eases, such as Alzheimer’s.”


Lutein is a pig­ment in leafy green veg, broc­coli and egg yolks that has a pro­tec­tive role. A team at the Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois in the US found that daily leafy greens help pre­serve “crys­tallised in­tel­li­gence” – the abil­ity to use skills ac­quired over a life­time.


Red wine is rich in the an­tiox­i­dant resver­a­trol. “It’s as­so­ci­ated with clear­ance of beta amy­loid, a pro­tein linked with Alzheimer’s,” Hill says.


Fisetin is a mol­e­cule found in straw­ber­ries. “It trav­els into the brain, where it blocks ox­ida­tive stress and in­flam­ma­tion,” Beart says.

Mo­noun­sat­u­rated fatty acids ( MUFAs)

Found in olive oil, nuts and av­o­ca­dos, these healthy fatty acids sup­port the brain’s at­ten­tion net­work and help with cog­ni­tion, ac­cord­ing to re­search con­ducted by the Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois in the US.

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