You’re going in the right direction if you feed your brain a varied and colourful diet full of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats and quality protein, but make sure you’re also getting enough of the following important nutrients. And if you’d like some inspiratio­n for more mind food, try the four delicious recipes from Eve Kalinik on the following pages. 1. OMEGA-3

‘Barely anyone is eating enough fish, which means we’re not getting enough of two key fatty acids: EPA and DHA. These make up your brain cell membranes, the building blocks of a healthy brain,’ says Wilson. ‘DHA is also needed for nerve signalling.’ EPA and DHA are found in the highest quantities in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. ‘Other foods, such as walnuts and flaxseeds, are known to be rich in omega-3, but they aren’t the highest quality source,’ she says.


All the B-vitamins have a role in brain health, but vitamin B12 is essential for forming a protective barrier around brain cells. ‘This is one of the key brain nutrients that’s mainly found in animal products, so it’s one to watch if you eat a plant-based diet,’ says Wilson. ‘Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve damage, pain, fatigue, weakness, confusion and memory problems.’


The NHS says everyone needs a vitamin-d supplement because in the UK, we don’t get enough sunshine for our bodies to produce it all year round. This is particular­ly important if you have dark skin, as you will naturally produce less. ‘It’s a key nutrient that may play a role in depression through its effect on the immune system,’ says Wilson.


Both Wilson and Kalinik are big fans of fibre, the number-one food source for gut bacteria and thus for supporting all their functions, from keeping the gut lining healthy to producing a whole range of important substances, including vitamins. Vary your sources of fibre; diversity is just as important as quantity. Think different colours and types from plant-based carbohydra­tes. That means vegetables, fruit and wholegrain­s as well as nuts and seeds. To hit your daily quota, you could add a spoonful of nut butter and one of berries to porridge, aiming for a mix of three different types of veggies at lunch and dinner, plus a sprinkling of seeds over salads and soups. Make sure you’re eating prebiotics, a source of fibre that’s the top food for microbes. These are found in thousands of foods, but some of the top hitters include garlic, onions, leeks, artichokes, asparagus, almonds, cashews, pistachios, mushrooms, wholegrain­s, such as oats, and fermented breads, such as sourdough.

How to Build a Healthy Brain (Yellow Kite) by Kimberley Wilson; monumental­; @foodandpsy­ch

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