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What is a brain-healthy diet?

What is a brain-healthy diet?

Your body and brain need a range of nutrients to function. A diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids can help protect your brain by promoting important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant processes.

A healthy diet is also an important part of maintaining a healthy body weight. Overconsumption of some foods or being overweight increases blood pressure and the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Evidence shows that healthy eating patterns are associated with better brain health. Eat.Play.Rest is all about finding what works for you. But knowing some of the basics can help.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide general tips for healthy eating.

Aim for variety
It is important to include a range of nutritious foods from each of the five food groups every day. These include:

  •  grain foods and cereals (preferably wholegrains),
    e.g. bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, polenta
  • vegetables, legumes and beans, in a variety
    of colours
  • fruit
  • dairy products (preferably low-fat) or alternatives,
    such as soy-based products
  • lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds.

Just make sure to keep portion sizes to the right amounts.

Monitor fat intake
Not all fats are bad. Some fats contain essential nutrients, such as olive oil, nuts, avocado and oily fish. However, some fats (saturated and trans fats) are not healthy for the body and should be limited in your diet.

Foods high in unhealthy fats include:

  • butter and cream
  • full-fat dairy products
  • fatty meats and processed meats
  • palm oil and coconut oil
  • biscuits, cakes and pastries
  • deep-fried foods.

Watch your salt intake
Use salt sparingly when cooking or eating to help control your blood pressure. Avoid salty foods, such as frozen meals, fast food and processed or packaged foods.

Watch for hidden sugar
Be careful of foods with added sugar, such as desserts, soft drinks and foods marketed as low-fat. It is a good idea to check the sugar content on the label first.

Drink water
Increase your daily water intake by carrying a water bottle with you or pouring a glass of water with each meal.

Eat.Play.Rest works with Australian sports stars, chefs and thought leaders to share personal insights, ideas and inspiration on how to live a brain-healthy lifestyle. Keep an eye on our eat page for healthy recipes, ideas and more.

Follow @EatPlayRestAustralia on Instagram, for more brain-healthy tips and inspiration.

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