Follow a healthy diet
Healthy eating can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. But did you know that these conditions also increase your risk of developing dementia?
Healthy dietary choices not only improve your general health, in the long-term nutritious food helps maintain brain function and slows memory decline.
Tips for eating healthy
- Enjoy a variety of foods in many different colours.
- Blue and purple fruits and vegetables tend to be packed with anti-oxidants. Blackberries, blueberries, purple cabbage and plums are all great food choices.
- Go green every day with fruits and vegetables that are good for your brain and also benefit bones, teeth and vision. Green options include avocados, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, peas, spinach, pears, honeydew melon and many more.
- Choose white, tan and brown fruits and vegetables such as bananas, cauliflower, potatoes, turnips, onions and garlic.
- Add orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as grapefruit, cantaloupe, butternut squash, peaches, papaya, oranges, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers and lemons to your plate.
- Reach for reds every day. Beets, raspberries, red grapes, radishes, tomatoes, red peppers, watermelon, rhubarb, pomegranates and cherries are just a few excellent red choices.
- Eat high fibre breads, cereals and grains and low-fat animal proteins. Include foods rich in omega-3 oils such as cold-water fish (e.g. trout, salmon) and walnuts.
- Add flavour to dishes by adding herbs, spices, nuts and olives. You don't have to give up flavour to follow a healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight by choosing appropriate portion sizes, eating healthy snacks, and drinking plenty of water.
- Plan meals in advance so that you don't leave healthy eating to chance.
- When it comes to food and brain health, set reasonable goals and be patient. By following basic healthy eating guidelines, your brain fitness has the potential to improve.
- For more great ways to take action on brain health, visit our BrainBooster® activity pages.
As a busy mom of two, it’s important that my family eats nutritious meals and that I do too. I bring my lunch to work each day along with one of my favourite snacks –plain yogurt and granola – to beat that mid-afternoon sugar craving.
- Nalini Sen, Director of the Alzheimer Society Research Program
For more tips on which foods help the brain, check out the Brain Health Food Guide: An Evidence-Based Approach to Healthy Eating for the Aging Brain (Baycrest) or Health Canada's Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.
Note: Your abilities, health and interests should be taken into consideration when choosing brain healthy activities. If you have questions about your own situation, speak to your doctor or health care provider.