1 in 3 babies born in the UK today are expected to celebrate their 100th birthday. The average UK age is climbing and along with a longer life expectancy comes increased numbers of people living with dementia. It’s one of the health problems people worry about most as they start to get older, so any strategies that may help to prevent or even improve this scary condition are much needed. Taking control of your own health is the key to maximizing your health now and as you get older.
Here we look at some top tips to help keep your brain healthy that are beneficial at any age:
Recent research is now linking Alzheimer’s with sugar and some experts are even suggesting it should be re-named Type 3 Diabetes to better reflect this link. Cutting down on sugar will benefit your health overall and it seems now that it may also help to reduce your risks of Alzheimer’s too. Reduce refined sugar in all forms, sugary drinks and snacks, fast and processed foods, white bread, pasta and rice, and instead choose wholegrains and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Reduce AGEs in your food
Officially termed ‘Advanced Glycation End Products’, AGEs are substances that we naturally produce in our bodies and get from our food too, however if we are exposed to excessive amounts they can cause damage and destruction in all bodily tissues and cells. Research now links excessive exposure to AGEs to Alzheimer’s disease too. The best way to limit your exposure is to choose foods that are naturally lower in AGEs. Fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, beans, chickpeas, lentils, soy, tofu, milk, eggs and yoghurt are low in AGEs. Most fast and processed foods and animal-derived products such as meat are higher in AGEs. Fats such as butter and olive oil are high, and even nuts and seeds are relatively high, especially when roasted.
Modify your cooking methods
Some cooking methods increase the AGE content of food so it’s important to choose carefully when you’re planning a meal.
• Avoid high temperature dry heat cooking methods such as roasting.
• Avoid grilling, chargrilling, frying, deep-frying, broiling and BBQ.
• Choose foods cooked with moist heat, shorter cooking times and lower temperatures – eg. boiling, poaching and steaming.
• Add acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar as this can help to reduce AGE production whilst cooking.
Supplement with omega 3, 6 & 9 fats, CoQ10 & vitamins D & E
Together these nutrients make the perfect combination for boosting brain health at any age.
Stress is one of the biggest anti-nutrients known to man. It puts a strain on bodily resources and exhausts nutrient stores. Stress is particularly bad news for the brain so it’s crucial to integrate regular relaxation practices into your lifestyle.
As well as being a brilliant stress buster and calming too, exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which can support optimal cognitive function as we get older.
Optimal brain health relies on a nutritious diet, regular exercise & relaxation and a range of essential nutrients to support its optimum function.
Taking action now to optimise this intelligent organ and preserve its function into old age is a simple yet powerful step to take, whatever age you are.