Most of us are aware that eating a well-balanced diet including fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low fat dairy products (or similar) can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. What many people may not know is that this can also help reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies have shown certain nutrients are particularly beneficial to brain health.
To determine whether you are you getting enough brain-boosting nutrients in your diet we welcome you to complete the following quiz that will test your knowledge of brain-healthy foods.
#1 Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are believed to be beneficial to the brain. Which of the following is NOT a good fish source of brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids?
a) Salmon b) Halibut c) Trout d) Black cod (sablefish)
#2 Anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids come in 3 forms: ALA, EPA and DHA. ALA is a plant based omega-3 found in flaxseeds, walnuts, hemp seeds and salba (chia). EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish. Do you need to take a fish oil supplement if you are eating oily fish?
a) Yes, if you aren’t eating more than 8oz/250g per week
b) Maybe, if you aren’t eating I twice per week
c) It depends on individual needs – consult your Copeman Healthcare Dietitian
#3 Antioxidants are compounds that fight damage to cells. Which of the following statements is true?
a) Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables provide high levels of beneficial antioxidants
b) Cell damage (oxidation) occurs due to lifestyle factors such as stress, pollution, alcohol consumption and smoking
c) Kale, papaya, berries and olive oil are all great sources of antioxidants
d) All of the above
#4 Which of the following vitamins may play a role in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease?
a) Vitamin B12 b) Vitamin D c) Vitamin B3 (Niacin) d) All of the above
#1 Answer: (b) Only oily fish are good sources. Halibut is not a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
#2 Answer: (c) Aim to have 8 oz of fatty fish each week. If you don’t like to eat fish or have an allergy, speak with your dietitian before taking an omega-3 supplement.
#3 Answer: (d) Antioxidants and their associated health benefits are grouped by colors, a great reason to include a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables each day. Red, blue and orange coloured produce (like blueberries, apples and tomatoes) carry high antioxidant power.
#4 Answer: (d) Some studies suggest that B3, B12 and D may play some role in dementia prevention. However, to date, no vitamin has been shown to conclusively reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B12 is needed to keep nerve cells healthy and functioning and Vitamin D has an important role in the development and function of the brain. Niacin (vitamin B3) is involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, nervous system function, and promotes circulation. Speak with your dietitian who can determine if a supplement is needed.