We often talk about the importance of our diet in maintaining a healthy weight, protecting us against disease and improving our sense of well-being. But perhaps a less common discussion is the one about the impact of our diet on our brains.
The human brain is an incredibly complex structure and consuming the right food and drink plays a vital role in providing the nutrition it needs.
What we eat can determine how healthy our brains are and there are many excellent sources of nutrition to help keep our brains healthy.
- Complex carbs, such as rice and wholegrain bread, are an excellent source of energy for our brains due to their glucose content. Energy is released slowly, meaning our brains can work for longer periods of time
- Amino acids are a great way to help you sleep at night, so having a milky drink before bed is recommended
- A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals helps your brain perform vital tasks
- Extra virgin olive oil reduces cholesterol level and blood pressure and is a healthy source of fat
- Oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel provide an excellent source of omega-3
- Deep-coloured fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants which protect the cells in our brain against disease. The best foods are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, spinach, kale, beetroot and beans
- It may come as a surprise but dark chocolate is another source of antioxidants. Be aware that it is also high in sugar and fat, so one small piece a day is enough
- Try replacing your regular tea with green tea, as this also contains high levels of antioxidants.
Aside from your diet, there are other things you can do to help maintain a healthy brain.
Socialising is an excellent way to stimulate the brain, as maintaining relationships and connecting with people lowers the risk of depression and dementia.
Physical exercise has plenty of health benefits but, most significantly it improves our mood and behaviour. Any form of exercise increases serotonin levels in the brain, which works as an antidepressant and improves our well-being.
If you want to speak to a doctor about your diet and brain health, you can make an appointment by calling TFJ Private GP Services on 01926 436303 or by visiting www.tfjprivategp.co.uk.