How nutrition and the brain are intimately linked

It's Brain Awareness Week, and we're highlighting the importance of nutrition to keeping a healthy brain!

Good food and nutrition, together with physical activity and regular socialising, can help to keep our bodies and our brains healthy as we become older.

When we think about the benefits of good nutrition, we usually think about our heart and muscles, but our brain needs a variety of nutrients too! There is some new research that suggests that what we eat and how we live our lives can affect our brain function, and possibly minimise the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Some of the important factors that influence the health of our brain include:

•    Keeping physically active - Do something every day that you enjoy!
•    Adequate sleep - Our brains need those 8 hours of shut eye every night.
•    A healthy diet - Our brains need a wide range of nutrients to stay healthy, especially protein, omega 3s and fibre. A traditional Mediterranean diet appears to be the ideal diet for long term health as we age.
•    Family, social connections and keeping mentally stimulated play a big role in brain function as we age.
•    Keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
•    Drinking in moderation and not smoking.
•    Managing your weight - Poor nutrition and malnutrition can affect how the brain works and contribute to poor brain function.

What is clear is that eating well to maintain a healthy body as you age will also have a positive effect on your brain and how you enjoy the years ahead.   

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