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Eat healthily

Eat healthily

Eat fresh tasty fruit and vegetables


Enjoy eating fresh tasty fruit and vegetables. Cut down on salt, sugar and saturated fat. Eat more fish, especially mackerel, salmon or sardines. If it’s good for your heart, it’s good for your brain.

The evidence

A brain-healthy diet is one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol.

One American study found a 60% reduction in risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people who ate oily fish at least once a week. Fish oils may help to prevent furring or hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure which can raise dementia risk.

A high intake of folate (folic acid) has also been shown in one study to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, by up to 55%. Fortified cereals, green leafy vegetables, orange juice, yeast extract and liver are all good sources of folate.

Another found that people who drank fruit or vegetable juice more than three times a week had a 76% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who drank juice less than once a week. Because juices tend to be made from the whole fruit or vegetable, they contain more of the antioxidants believed to protect our body cells from damage.

More research is needed to show exactly how diet relates to dementia risk. But meanwhile, you can’t lose by eating healthily.

What should you aim at?

  • Eat more fruit and vegetables - at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day (a portion can be a whole piece of fruit like an apple or orange or 2 large tablespoons of vegetables). A glass of fruit or vegetable juice counts as a portion.
  • Eat more fish - at least 2 portions a week. One portion should be oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines - fresh, tinned or frozen
  • Cut down on salt - no more than 6g a day
  • Reduce the amount of fat, saturated fat and sugar in your diet
  • Eat more starchy foods like bread, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes - wholegrain, wholemeal or brown varieties where possible

See or phone the Healthy Living Advice Line - 0845 2 78 88 78 for more help with healthy eating.

good for you, good for your brain
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good for you, good for your brain