Friday, 7 August 2015

9 Fantastic Foods to Feed Your Brain on the Mediterranean Diet (Infographic)

Studies have repeatedly linked the Mediterranean Diet with numerous health benefits including lower cholesterol and a healthy heart. Were you aware that research has also found that it can play a role in keeping your brain healthy as you age (link: The Journal of the American Medical Association 2009;302(6))?


The Mediterranean Diet is a natural, whole-food diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seeds, fish and olive oils and low in animal-sourced saturated fat, dairy and red meat. As such, it is high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients and these in particular have been associated with helping to prevent cognitive decline in older age. Further research has also found that when older adults supplemented their Mediterranean Diet specifically with nuts and extra olive oil, they had superior cognitive and memory skills than those who ate a reduced-fat diet (link: The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine 2015;175(7)). 

9 Fantastic Foods to Feed Your Brain on the Mediterranean Diet

The great news is that the natural foods within the Mediterranean Diet that are most beneficial to brain health are all delicious. They are so abundant that even if you have special diertary requirements, there is still plenty of choice even if you need to avoid certain food groups (such as nuts, gluten, dairy) or are a vegetarian. These brain-healthy superfoods fall into three main groupings:

Brain-Health Superfoods Group 1: Antioxidants 

  • Sunflower seeds rich in the antioxidant Vitamin E
  • Walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds rich in the antioxidants
  • Avocado rich in the antioxidant Vitamin E

Brain-Health Superfoods Group2 : Anti-inflammatory Omega Fatty Acids

  • Olive Oil, specifically Extra Virgin Olive Oil, rich in anti-inflammatory oleocanthal compounds
  • Oily Fish such as salmon, mackerel, pilchards, sardines and herring which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Flax seed (linseed) rich in anti-inflammatory Alpha-Linolenic Acid

Brain-Health Superfoods Group 3: Fruit & Vegetables rich in folates, beta-carotene & flavonoids

  • Broccoli and other dark green leafy vegetables rich in folates
  • Butternut Squash & Pumpkin rich in beta-carotene
  • Blueberries & strawberries high in flavonoids
9 Fantastic Foods to Feed Your Brain on the Mediterranean Diet Infographic

Further Inspiration

If you're looking easy ways to follow the Mediterranean Diet, then you may want to checkout my best-selling Easy Low Fat & Low Cholesterol Mediterranean Diet Recipe Cookbook which features over 100 easy, tasty everyday recipes:

  

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