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 vegetables and fruit every day in a variety of colours. For each meal, aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruit.

    • In particular, reach for raw leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, kale and mixed greens.

    • Also include cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and Brussels sprouts.

    • In terms of fruit, berries (fresh or frozen) are particularly beneficial.

  • Include plant sources of protein such as beans and legumes more often. Try stirring them into soups or adding them to salads or stir-fries. Limit red and processed meat, as well as full-fat dairy such as butter and cheese.
  • Include foods that are rich in omega-3 oils such as cold-water fish (e.g. trout, salmon) and walnuts. Choose healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil when cooking.
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains and limit highly processed foods.
  • Add flavour to dishes by adding herbs, spices, nuts, lemon or vinegar rather than salt or sugar. You don't need to give up on flavour to follow a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight by planning meals in advance, choosing appropriate portion sizes, eating healthy snacks and drinking plenty of water.
  • 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.
Nalini Sen

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 (Baycrest), the Brain Food Recommendations (the Global Council on Brain Health) or Health 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.

Last Updated: 11/22/2019