Brain Health Awareness

Brain Health Awareness

Author -  Healtheries

There are a few nutritional tips you can use to help maintain healthy grey matter. Here are the three top recommendations from experts around the Internet.

Did you know that March 14-20 is Brain Health Awareness week?

Most Kiwis know that Prostate Awareness month is September. Some know that February is Heart Health Awareness month.  But did you realise that there’s a Brain Health Awareness Week as well?  Well, there is, the week of March 14-20. This year, the organisers are expecting over 2,000 organisations from more than 75 different countries to take part. Each one will offer some kind of brain-health-related lecture, seminar, or other event.

Not surprisingly, experts seem to agree that many of the tips for looking after your brain are simply about living a generally healthy lifestyle. That means eating a balanced diet; getting enough activity and sleep; avoiding too much stress; and maintaining a positive attitude. But there are also a few nutritional tips you can use to help maintain healthy grey matter. Here are the three top recommendations from experts around the Internet.

Eating to support your brain health

  1. Include lots of antioxidant-rich green veges
  2. It’s probably no coincidence that so many of the articles on eating for health start with “eat more vegetables”[1]. Veges are such rich nutritional powerhouses that nearly every one of them is good for some organ or system in your body.
  3. When it comes to brain health, cruciferous and leafy veges are the focus[2]. These are vegetables like kale, spinach, silver beet, cabbages – especially Asian ones like bok choi, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. 
  4. Why are these specific vegetables so great for your grey matter? For a start, they’re generally rich in antioxidant nutrients such as Vitamin K, lutein, folate, and betacarotene. Each of these nutrients can help to maintain long-term cognitive (i.e. related to thinking and other brain function) health.
  5. Additionally, these veges tend to be good sources of fibre, which can help your body to keep fuelling your brain at a steady, consistent rate[3].

 Get more natural Vitamin E

  1. Most people associate Vitamin E with skin creams. It’s true that this antioxidant vitamin does indeed support healthy skin, but there’s far more to it than beauty. Research suggests that good Vitamin E levels also help to maintain long-term cognitive function[4],[5],[6].
  2. It’s important to realise that there are different forms of Vitamin E, however; and that most supplements only contain one form. Natural sources of Vitamin E like the green leafy veges we mentioned above, wholegrains, nuts (especially hazelnuts and almonds) and sunflower or pumpkin seeds, are probably better for your brain

 Eat more oily fish (or take Omega-3 fish oils)

  1. Finally, one of the best known brain health nutrients is Omega-3 oil. Most commonly associated with helping to keep your heart and joints healthy, Omega-3 oils also play a role in supporting brain health.
  2. Omega-3 oils usually contain two specific types of Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is especially important for babies and young children – it supports their growing brains, and helps with normal learning and attention patterns[7],[8]. It may help to maintain long-term brain health in older adults too.
  3. EPA is less often associated with brain health, but it’s been shown to help maintain mood balance and general mental wellbeing7.
  4. To get the recommended levels of EPA and DHA in your diet, you could eat two serves a week of oily fish, e.g. tuna, salmon, mackerel, etc. Alternatively, you might find it more convenient to take a fish oil supplement.

Healtheries have a wide range of Omega-3 oil options – check them out and see which is most appropriate for your family’s brain health.