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Top 5 foods for long term brain health

A clinical dietitian shares the best foods for keeping your brain healthy—and that taste great too.
Sophie Medlin
Head of Nutritional Research
April 05, 2020
2 min read

1. Oily fish

Oily fish, like mackerel is a great source of omega 3 fat, specifically the brain essential DHA fatty acid. It is also an important source of B12, selenium and phospholipids.

DHA makes up over 90% of the omega 3 fat content of the brain. Most people don’t get enough DHA which means that their brains aren’t able to carry out essential cell to cell signalling and other vital tasks as well as they could. We know that DHA is important for memory, focus and the processing of emotions.

Both DHA and phospholipids make up the cell membrane of brain cells. When the diet is optimised, DHA and phospholipids occupy the cell membranes and have a positive influence on the cell structure and enzyme production.

2. Nuts

Nuts provide an important source of vitamin E, magnesium, zinc and selenium.

Vitamin E may help to protect us from age related cognitive decline by maintaining the health of our brains.

Magnesium, zinc and selenium are three essential trace elements. Deficiency of these nutrients is linked to confusion, depression, brain fog and insomnia.

3. Eggs

Eggs are a great source of vitamin B12, vitamin D and phospholipids.

Having a low level of vitamin B12 leads to fatigue and weakness as well as mood disorders such as depression.

Vitamin D protects our brain from deposits building up that lead to cognitive decline. Deficiency is common in the UK due to low levels of sun exposure in the winter months. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with depressive symptoms.

4. Berries

Berries, especially blueberries are an important source of the phytochemical, anthocyanin.

These compounds are like antioxidants but they have lots of other health benefits including the ability to help improve our memory and focus and protect our brains from age-related decline.

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is a great source of folic acid (folate) as well as the phospholipid, choline.

In studies, folate has been linked to a reduction in depressive symptoms. Folate is also essential for the production of neurotransmitters (chemical signals in the brain) and DNA.

Recipe ideas:

  1. Smoked mackerel pate

  2. Salmon with broccoli

  3. Blueberry and nut muffins

  4. Broccoli and almond salad with sesame dressing

  5. Veggie frittata

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