Brain Health, by Emma Cockrell

A report from Time for Wellness highlights research linking brain health to the food we eat. A processed food diet is related poor memory and cognitive function while a whole food diet may help protect against age related cognitive decline. In a study investigating association between diet and age related cognitive health in a sample of 249 people aged 65–90 years with mild cognitive impairment it was found that a processed food pattern (rich in desserts, biscuits, potatoes, refined grains, fried foods, high fat dairy, snacks, high fat takeaway, chocolate and sweets, processed meat and fish, sugar beverages and red meat) foods was associated with reduced memory and impaired higher cognitive function.

This type of study cannot prove processed foods increase mental decline with age, but it adds to a growing body of research suggesting that healthy foods are linked to a healthier brain. “The Mediterranean diet, characterised by a diet high in fish, fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants,” for example “has been associated with a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer disease in an older population” point out the study investigators.

As Christmas approaches, the tendency to consume highly processed foods increases. Over the next couple of weeks I will give some tips and ideas on how to stick to a Nutritionhelp yeast-free and sugar-free diet plan over the holiday season, including a basic gravy recipe, and ideas for stuffing.

In the mean-time, make use of the abundance of ‘nuts in shells’ that are available in the shops at the moment. Being stored and purchased ‘uncracked’ reduces the likelihood of any mould building up on the surface of the nuts, making them a great snack-food for those on an anti-candida diet. My special favourite are chestnuts. If you have an open fire these are amazing toasted for a few minutes over a glowing log or red coals, but otherwise slit them, and pop them in a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove from the water, peel off the soft skin and enjoy the buttery-sweet flavour of the fresh chestnut.


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