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Nourishing the mind

Published on October 21, 2014 at 14:42 / Updated on December 9, 2019 at 14:39

We are all well aware of the fact that our diet influences our physical health, notably by helping to prevent cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. But do we understand the effects diet has on our brain?

Numerous studies lead us to believe that our food choices can influence our cognitive abilities, protect us from brain damage, in addition to counterbalancing the effects of ageing. For example, a study published last year in a prestigious and reputable medical journal demonstrated that folic acid supplements – highly recommended for pregnant women – contributed in countering the cognitive decline brought on by the effects of ageing, for people between the ages of 50 and 70. Furthermore, folate deficiency is also thought to be associated with depression. Evidence suggests that regularly eating foods that are rich in folic acid, such as dark green vegetables, oranges, and legumes, could also be good for the brain.

Experts believe that the famous antioxidants, which colourful vegetables are full of, could also protect from the effects of ageing on the brain. In rodents, some of these compounds have even been linked to an improvement in their memorizing capacity.

Omega-3 fatty acids, mostly found in oily fish and in certain nuts, have attracted a lot of attention over the last few years. It is believed that they likely increase the capacity of the brain’s cell membranes to transmit nerve signals and to modify themselves, consequently promoting improved memory. Furthermore, some studies suggest that a diet rich in fish could contribute in decreasing our risk of suffering from depression, memory problems and cardiovascular diseases.

Dietary supplements are often highly publicized. The very best way to get all the nutrients essential to a healthy body however is to adopt a healthy diet rich in a variety of foods, as recommended by Canada’s Food Guide. Not only will implementing these food recommendations increase our chances of maintaining a healthy body weight and a healthy body, it will also help keep our brain sharp as a tack!

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